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A Canadian soldier was killed and three others were injured in Kabul Tuesday morning in what appears to be a suicide attack, the Department of National Defence said Tuesday.

An explosion occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Kabul time on Darulaman Road, in an area near the Old King's Palace, said Colonel Gorg Langer, of the International Security Assistance Force.

It happened near two Iltis vehicles on patrol,

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The National Defence department said the deceased soldier is Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy.

The injured soldiers are Lieutenant Jason Matthew Feyko, Corporal Richard Michael Newman and Corporal Jeremy Gerald MacDonald.

"On behalf of all Canadian Forces members, I wish to offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the brave soldiers involved in this tragedy," General Ray Henault, chief of the defence staff, said in a statement.

One of the injured soldiers has been sent to a German medical facility at Camp Warehouse and the others are under the care of Canadian staff at Camp Julien.

"There is at least one dead civilian at the scene. It may have been a suicide bomber that caused the explosion," the statement said.

One civilian was dead at the scene and eight others were injured in the blast, which reports said happened close to Canadian Forces Camp Julien.

Ali Jan Askaryar, head of police in the western district of Kabul where the blast occurred, said the Canadians were part of a three-vehicle patrol when they were attacked.

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"There was a bump in the road, and when they slowed down to pass over it a terrorist jumped on one of the vehicles and blew himself up," Mr. Askaryar said.

A witness at the scene, Hussein Agha, said body parts were strewn on the road after the attack that happened at about 8:30 a.m. local time.

"There were three vehicles. Two of them had passed by and he targeted the last one," Mr. Agha said of the bomber.

International troops and local police cordoned off the scene of the attack. From nearby, an open-backed military jeep that appeared badly burned with its windows blown out was visible standing in a patch of blackened road, a white sheet lying next to it. A civilian car also appeared to have been badly burned in the blast.

Although there have been persistent, almost daily attacks in Afghanistan by remnants of the hardline Taliban and al-Qaeda, suicide attacks aren't a commonly used tactic by insurgent forces. The continuing violence in the country - more than two years after the Taliban were removed from power by a U.S.-led force - has killed more than 60 people in the past three weeks.

Two Canadian soldiers were killed in a mine explosion in October.

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Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger died Oct. 2 when at least one anti-tank mine hidden on a sandy track in hills south of Kabul exploded under their vehicle during a routine patrol. Three other soldiers were injured.

An investigation into the blast was not able to establish conclusively that terrorists were behind the strike, the commander of the NATO-led force in Kabul said earlier this month.

However, Lt.-Gen. Goetz Gliemeroth of Germany said he was convinced the two soldiers died as the result of an act of terror.

Gliemeroth, head of the International Security Assistance Force, said he believes a man now being held by U.S. authorities in Afghanistan was responsible for the attack.

Abu Bakr was arrested Oct. 7 by Kabul police, with the help of Canadian, British and German forces. Mr. Bakr was the Kabul-area commander of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, or HIG, described by the Canadian contingent's top soldier as the third-largest terrorist organization in Afghanistan after al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Members of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battalion Group started returning to Canada last week after finishing their tour.

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The troops were among nearly 2,000 Canadians stationed in Afghanistan.

Canadians account for about 40 per cent of the 5,200-strong force in Afghanistan, which has soldiers from 34 countries. Canada will take over command of ISAF from Germany in a formal ceremony slated for Feb. 10.

Four other Canadian soldiers who were part of the U.S.-led war on terrorism died and eight were wounded in April 2002 when a U.S. fighter pilot mistakenly dropped a bomb on them.

In June, four German soldiers were killed and 29 wounded in a suicide attack on their bus in one of the most serious post-Taliban attacks in the capital.

With Associated Press
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