A 3rd allegation of Iraq civilian deaths - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

A 3rd allegation of Iraq civilian deaths

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Posted: Friday, June 2, 2006 7:09 am | Updated: 5:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A third set of allegations that U.S. troops have deliberately killed civilians is fueling a furor in Iraq and drawing strong condemnations from government and human rights official.

"It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily phenomenon," the chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association, Muayed al-Anbaki, said Friday after video ran on television of children and adults slain in a raid in Ishaqi in March.

Al-Anbaki's comments came a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki upbraided the U.S. military over allegations that Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in Haditha, calling it "a horrible crime." They were his strongest public comments on the subject since his government was sworn in last month.

U.S. commanders have ordered new ethics training for all troops in Iraq. But the flow of revelations and investigations threatens to undermine Iraq's new government and public support in America for President Bush's management of the war.

Iraq's government also began its own investigation of the deaths in Haditha.

In addition to the Haditha case, in which Marines are alleged to have gunned down 24 civilians in a rage of revenge for a bombing that killed a Marine in November, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman could face murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges as early as Friday in the April shooting death of an Iraqi man, a defense attorney said Thursday.

Military prosecutors plan to file the charges against the men, who are being held in solitary confinement at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Marine Corps base, Jeremiah Sullivan III, who represents one of the men, said Thursday.

The U.S. military had no additional comment Friday on the accusations stemming from a raid March 15 in the village of Ishaqi, about 50 miles north of Baghdad.

In March, the U.S. military said four people died when they attacked from the ground and air a house suspected of holding an al-Qaida operative. The house was destroyed.

But video shot by an AP Television News cameraman at the time and previously unaired shows at least five children dead. The video shows at least one adult male and four young children with obvious entry wounds to the head. One child has an obvious entry wound to the side caused by a bullet.

Local Iraqis said there were 11 total dead, and charged that they were killed by U.S. troops before the house was leveled.

The video includes an unidentified man saying "children were stuck in the room, alone and surrounded."

"After they handcuffed them, they shot them dead. Later, they struck the house with their planes. They wanted to hide the evidence. Even a 6-month-old infant was killed. Even the cows were killed too," he said.

The video included shots of the bodies of five children and two men wrapped in blankets.

Other video showed the bodies of three children in the back of a pickup truck that took them to the hospital in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's former hometown.

Police Capt. Laith Mohammed said the March 15 attack that hit Ishaqi involved U.S. warplanes and armor.

Riyadh Majid, who identified himself as the nephew of Faez Khalaf, the head of the household who was killed, told AP at the time that U.S. forces landed in helicopters and raided the home.

Khalaf's brother, Ahmed, said nine of the victims were family members who lived at the house and two were visitors.

The U.S. military, which said in March that the allegations were being investigated, said it was targeting and captured an individual suspected of supporting foreign fighters of the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist network. It had no further comment Friday.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq, said at a news conference Thursday that "about three or four" inquiries were being carried out around the country, but he would not provide any details.

Iraqi officials and relatives also said U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women - one of them about to give birth - when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings. It said the incident was being investigated.

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