A British soldier was killed and another injured in an attack on a base in southern Iraq, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.

The dead soldier, who has not been named, was serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps when the Shaat Al Arab Hotel base in Basra came under f ire late on Sunday afternoon.

A second forces member, who has also not been identified, was injured in the attack.

The MoD described the incident as an "indirect fire attack" which can mean mortar or rocket fire, but did not specify which for operational reasons.

The incident takes the number of British service personnel who have died since the start of hostilities in Iraq to 119.

A spokesman in Iraq was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that 15 shells had been fired at the compound, with three landing inside.

"This was a very serious indirect fire attack, and we have in recent weeks increased our security measures there, and were it not for these security measures we could have had more casualties," said Major Charles Burbridge.