Family grieves for son killed in Afghanistan

Canadian soldier killed in Afghan blast due to return home in days, three others in hospital receiving treatment for injuries.

The parents of a Canadian soldier killed in a bombing in Afghanistan say they had been looking forward to their son returning home to Newfoundland after his six-month tour of duty.

"We were counting the days, and so was his father, on the calendar," said Alice Murphy, mother of Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy.

The 26-year-old soldier from Conception Harbour, Nfld., was killed Tuesday near Kabul when a suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body reportedly jumped on one of two Iltis jeeps carrying six Canadian soldiers on patrol.

"Every day, [his father would] say to me, 'Alice, he's near. He's only got another few days and he'll be back,'" said Alice Murphy.

Lieut. Jason Matthew Feyko, 30, of Peterborough, Ont., Cpl. Jeremy Gerald MacDonald, 28, of Burnt Islands, Nfld. and Cpl. Richard Michael Newman, 23, of Hartland, N.B., were also wounded in the attack that killed Murphy. The three wounded soldiers have non-life threatening injuries.

One Afghan civilian died and eight others were injured. They're being treated in hospital.

The bombing comes as members of the regiment were in the process of returning to Canada after a six-month tour of duty. Murphy was due to return home next Friday.

Murphy's parents said they learned their son had been killed when they answered a knock on the door at 5 a.m. on Tuesday

"I knew when I saw them at the door," said Alice Murphy. "They told me that Jamie was dead. He was a wonderful son. I loved him with all my heart."

His mother said her son loved his work but was eager to return home. His sister Rosemary Ryan said Jamie and his girlfriend were moving into a house together when he returned to Newfoundland.

"We were just proud of him and we couldn't wait until he came back," said Ryan.

Taliban supporters have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place at 8:30 a.m. local time. The soldiers were on routine patrol on the western side of Kabul, about one kilometre from the Canadian base, Camp Julien.

"There was a bump in the road, and when they slowed down to pass over it a terrorist jumped on one of the vehicles and blew himself up," said Ali Jan Askaryar, head of police in the western district of Kabul.

One of the injured soldiers was transported to a German medical facility to undergo surgery. He has shrapnel wounds to his face and may have damage to an eye. The two other soldiers remain in the care of Canadian medical staff at Camp Julien. One has shrapnel injuries to his upper body, while another suffered very minor injuries.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of the victims of this terrible event," Minister of National Defence David Pratt said in a statement.

All of the soldiers are members of the International Security and Assistance Force policing Kabul.