Canada military families receive fake death calls

/ Source: staff and news service reports

Canada's military is investigating fake calls to military families from a man who informs them that their loved ones have been killed in Afghanistan.

Lt. Dennis Noel of Canadian Forces Base Valcartier said Wednesday that a prankster phoned several families, including one soldier's wife to say her husband had been killed by a bomb on the battlefield.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay says the calls are "deplorable and despicable."

Noel says one woman answered the call from a man in the middle of the night last week, saying her husband was killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device.

The wives of two other soldiers received similar phone calls.

Canadian Forces always deliver news of a soldier's death in person, National Defence spokeswoman Chantale Le Bouthillier told AFP news agency, the BBC reported.

"Military personnel should not be needlessly worried about their families when they are fighting for our country in far away lands," said Defence Minister Peter MacKay, adding that the imposters responsible for the calls were "insensitive, amoral and disgusting."

Canada has about 3,000 troops in Afghanistan and has suffered the highest per-capita casualty rate of any coalition member.

More than 150 Canadian soldiers have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded since Canada first sent troops to support the U.S.-led invasion after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

This article contains reporting from The Associated Press and staff.