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Another US atrocity in Iraq: Soldiers under investigation for rape and murder
A top US Army commander in Iraq has ordered an investigation into allegations of yet another atrocity committed by US soldiers in Iraq. The case involves a particularly gruesome and sadistic episode, in which an Iraqi woman was allegedly stalked, raped and murdered. Three other members of her family were killed, and the corpse of the violated woman was burned.
The revelation of these killings follows a string of exposures in recent weeks of execution-style murders and other violent crimes against Iraqi civilians by US troops.
The latest investigation involves an incident that occurred on March 12 in the market town of Mahmoudiyah, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. The Associated Press reported that the incident involved five soldiers from a unit of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, which is attached to the Fourth Infantry Division.
Military officials told the Associated Press that the soldiers had noticed the woman on previous patrols and that the killings appeared to have been “a crime of opportunity.” For months, military officials attributed the civilian deaths to “insurgent activity.”
The suspects in these killings were from the same unit as the two US soldiers whose bodies were found mutilated earlier this month, after they had been taken captive at a military checkpoint. According to numerous news sources, soldiers in the unit came forward on June 23, following the discovery of the bodies of the two captures soldiers, and revealed that American troops had been responsible for the four civilian deaths in March.
According to a network news report that aired Friday evening, one or more soldiers spoke out about the incident at a meeting of soldiers in the unit called by officers to discuss the deaths of their two comrades.