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US Troops Accused Of Rape And Murder In Iraq

Just in time for the Fourth Of July weekend, from the DNC’s Associated Press:

U.S. soldiers patrol in Mahmoudiya, Iraq, south of Baghdad, Saturday April 3, 2004. Two attacks on Iraqi police south of Baghdad on Saturday left four people dead, officers said, in the latest of a string of attacks on local authorities linked to the U.S.-led occupation.Gunmen fired on a vehicle carrying Col. Wisam Hussein, the police chief of Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad, killing both him and his driver, police said.

GIs eyed in alleged rape, murders in Iraq

By RYAN LENZ, Associated Press Writer

A group of American soldiers in an insurgent-riddled town allegedly noticed a young Iraqi woman when on patrol and later returned to rape her, according to U.S. officials Friday. In an apparent cover-up attempt, she and three members of her family then were killed and her body was set on fire.

Five U.S. troops are being investigated, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press.

It is the fifth pending case involving alleged slayings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops.

The suspects in the killing, which took place in March, were from the same platoon as two soldiers kidnapped and killed south of Baghdad this month, said the official, who is close to the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

One soldier was arrested after admitting his role in the alleged attack on the family, the U.S. official said. The official said the rape and killings appear to have been a "crime of opportunity," noting that the soldiers had not been attacked by insurgents but had noticed the woman on previous patrols.

One of the family members they allegedly killed was a child, said a senior Army official who also requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Some of the suspects allegedly burned the woman’s body to cover up the attack, the U.S. official said.

In Baghdad, the U.S. military issued a sparse statement, saying only that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged slaying of a family of four in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad.

However, the U.S. official said the soldiers were assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment. The official told the AP that the suspects were from the same platoon as two slain soldiers whose mutilated bodies were found June 19, three days after they were abducted by insurgents near Youssifiyah southwest of Baghdad.

The military has said one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.

According to the senior Army official, the alleged incident was first revealed by a soldier during a routine counseling-type session. The official said that soldier did not witness the incident but heard about it.

A second soldier, who also was not involved, said he overhead soldiers conspiring to commit the crimes and then later saw bloodstains on their clothes, the official said.

Before the soldier disclosed the alleged assault, senior officers had been aware of the family’s death but believed it was a result of sectarian violence, the official said.

One of the five suspects has already been discharged for unspecified charges unrelated to the killings and is believed to be in the United States, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing

How appalling – if true.

And as we saw with Haditha, that is a mighty big “if.”

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, June 30th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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