Britain's military says it is considering lifting rules that ban female soldiers from taking part in face-to-face combat with enemy forces.

Armed Forces minister Bob Ainsworth said on Sunday that a review will rule on whether women should take on the most dangerous warfare roles.

Female soldiers are currently banned from close combat. A review in 2002 ruled it would be too difficult to integrate women into male units.

It means that no women soldiers are able to join specialist missions to seek out and kill the enemy.

British women do serve in front-line military roles, carrying out tasks like foot patrols and flying attack helicopters.

Ainsworth says the review is partly in response to European Union rules on gender equality.