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Hammond: loss of life appalling

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said the government has been told the hostage situation at a gas plant in Algeria has ended but has resulted in "further loss of life".

Mr Hammond described the loss of life as a result of the terrorist attack as "appalling and unacceptable."

To hear the rest of his comments at the press conference click here.

Defence Secretary pays tribute to Doncaster soldier

Sgt. Lee Davidson Credit: Ministry of Defence

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has led the tributes to Doncaster soldier Lee Davidson who was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. The 32-year-old Sergeant in the Light Dragoons was fatally wounded when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device.

Mr Hammond said: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sergeant Lee Davidson and my thoughts are with his family at this very sad time. Sergeant Davidson was a respected and skilled serviceman and his loss is a great tragedy.

"Sergeant Davidson gave his life protecting Britain's national security; his efforts will not be in vain, and he will not be forgotten."


VIDEO: Axe falls on Yorkshire Battalion

The Army is to lose 17 major units, including the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, in the biggest overhaul of the service for decades. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the changes were needed to create a "balanced, capable and adaptable force" for the future.

As well as the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment ( Green Howards) , who are based in Cyprus, three other infantry battalions are to be axed - the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh.

The changes - to be completed by the end of the decade - will see the regular Army cut from 102,000 to 82,000 while the Territorial Army will be expanded to give a combined force of 120,000.