A British soldier was killed by an explosion while on a foot patrol Thursday in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said. The death brings to 279 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 245 were killed as a result of hostile action. Some 34 have been killed this year. The soldier, from the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, was killed by a blast near the town of Babaji in central Helmand Province.