U.K. Reporter, U.S. Marine Killed in Afghan Blast

An explosion in southern Afghanistan killed a British journalist, a U.S. Marine and an Afghan soldier, Britain's military said Sunday.

The Sunday Mirror's defense correspondent Rupert Hamer, 39, and photographer Philip Coburn, 43, were accompanying a U.S. Marine patrol Saturday when the vehicle they were traveling in was hit by a makeshift bomb in Nawa, the Defense Ministry said.

Coburn and four Marines were seriously wounded in the blast, the military said.

The Sunday Mirror said that Hamer and Coburn had flown to the region on New Year's Eve and were embedded with the American military. Their trip was to have lasted for a month, the paper said.

Both were veterans of reporting from conflict zones. It was Hamer's fifth excursion to Afghanistan, while Coburn had previously reported from Afghanistan, Iraq and Rwanda.

"Rupert believed that the only place to report a war was from the front line, and as our defense correspondent he wanted to be embedded with the U.S. Marines at the start of their vital surge into southern Afghanistan," Sunday Mirror Editor Tina Weaver said in a statement.

Hamer is survived by his wife Helen and three young children, the paper said.

British defense minister Bob Ainsworth said Hamer and Coburn accompanied him on his most recent trip to Afghanistan and that he was "impressed by their hard work and professionalism.

"My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families, friends and colleagues of both men at this extremely distressing time," Ainsworth said.