Four soldiers and one journalist from Canada were killed in an explosion Wednesday in Kandahar province, one of the most dangerous areas of southern Afghanistan, NATO said.

In a statement, the international coalition said the reporter was embedded with the troops when their armored vehicle hit the bomb while on an afternoon patrol south of Kandahar city.

The Canadian Press identified the journalist as Michelle Lang, a 34-year-old health reporter with the Calgary Herald, who was on her first assignment to Afghanistan.

The military has not disclosed the names of the troops because relatives had not all been notified.

"The soldiers were conducting a community security patrol in order to gather information on the pattern of life and maintain security in the area," Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard, commander of coalition forces in Kandahar, told Canadian Press early Thursday.

Kandahar is a hotbed of the insurgency. On Dec. 24, eight people, including a child, were killed when a man driving a horse-drawn cart laden with explosives detonated the cache outside a guest house frequented by foreigners.

Wednesday was the second lethal strike against the Canadian force in a week. Another Canadian troop and an Afghan soldier were killed Dec. 23 during a foot patrol in Panjwayi district of Kandahar province.

According to figures compiled by The Associated Press, the latest casualties bring to 32 the number of Canadian forces killed in Afghanistan this year; in all, 138 have died in the war.