(AFP Photo) Iraqi woman in front of a house that was destroyed during a U.S. raid in March 2006
The U.S. army is investigating reports that five American troops raped a young
Iraqi woman, burnt her body and killed three members of her family, The Associated
Press news agency reported.
The army said it launched a criminal investigation into the March incident,
which took place in the southern town of in Mahmoudiya.
"The entire investigation will encompass everything that could have happened
that evening. We're not releasing any specifics of an ongoing investigation,"
said military spokesman Maj. Todd Breasseale.
"There is no indication what led soldiers to this home. The investigation
just cracked open. We're just beginning to dig into the details,” he added.
However, a U.S. official familiar with the case said at least one of the accused
soldiers has admitted to committing the horrible crime, and has been arrested.
The army had taken away the weapons of at least four other accused troops,
and confined them to a U.S. army base in Mahmoudiyah, said the official, who
spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.
All the soldiers belong to the 502nd Infantry Regiment. Two troops from the
same regiment have been killed earlier this month after they were kidnapped
at a checkpoint near the southern town of Youssifiyah.
The official said the crime in Mahmoudiyah appear to be unrelated to the abduction
but that a soldier felt that he must report the incident after the bodies of
his colleagues were found.
The rape and the killings appeared to have been a "crime of opportunity,"
the source said, adding that the accused troops hadn’t been attacked in
the area and that they’d seen the women frequently during their patrols.
Recent incidents of indiscriminate shootings of innocent Iraqi civilians have
generated unfavorable publicity for the U.S. military and provoked international
criticism of the United States, especially after a U.S. army probe into the
killings of civilians in Ishaqi, a village north of Baghdad, cleared soldiers
of misconduct, even though it acknowledged the death of up to 13 Iraqis in the
The Mahmoudiyah incident came to light days after the U.S. army admitted that
it killed a “non-combatant” during a raid near Baquba, 65 km northeast
The army claimed that the civilian was killed as U.S. forces were “securing
the house of an alleged al-Qaeda member.”
The U.S. army is currently investigating other crimes committed by U.S. troops
in Iraq, including the killing of 24 unarmed civilians in the town of Haditha
Criminal charges have been filed against U.S. soldiers in some cases.
Last week, the U.S. military charged seven Marines and one sailor with premeditated
murder, kidnapping and conspiracy over the April 26 killing of a 52-year-old
disabled Iraqi civilian.
Four more U.S. soldiers were charged with premeditated murder after being accused
of shooting three male Iraqi prisoners north of Baghdad last May and then threatening
to kill a fellow soldier if he spoke about the killings.
Also this month, the U.S. army admitted that three Iraqi civilians were killed
after an artillery shell hit their house near the town of Hibhib (some 20 km
north of Baquba).
Read from Looking Glass News
Soldiers in St. Louis Admit to Rape and Murder in Iraq
earns dubious distinction as a weapon of war