Four soldiers hurt in Basra blasts

Four British soldiers have been slightly injured in two separate explosions in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

British military spokesman Captain Hisham Halawi said both incidents were under investigation.

According to local residents, the first explosion happened as a vehicle was passing a petrol station on the outskirts of Basra. One soldier was hurt.

The three others were slightly injured in a second explosion, an hour later near a British military camp, Halawi said.

It was unclear whether the blasts were caused by roadside bombs, which coalition forces refer to as "improvised explosive devices."

Roadside bombs have been widely used against American forces in the north and central parts of the country, although Basra, which has a large Shiite Muslim population, has been relatively quiet.

On October 8, an explosion went off at one of Saddam Hussein's palaces that serves as a British military headquarters but caused no injuries.

British officials said at the time that they believed the blast was caused by a small mortar.

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