Iraqi group claim deaths of U.S. soldiers avenge rape, murder of Iraqi girl

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A group allegedly linked to al Qaida, Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq, posted a web video Tuesday which purported to show two U.S. soldiers' mutilated bodies and claimed the soldiers were killed to avenge the rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza.

The six American soldiers who have been charged with various crimes related to the alleged rape and murder incident are from the same unit as the two U.S. soldiers who were abducted, killed and mutilated, they claim.

The group said that the video was released as "revenge for our sister who was dishonored by a soldier of the same brigade" and that after their fighters heard of the rape and killing, "they kept their anger to themselves and didn't spread the news, but were determined to avenge their sister's honor. God Almighty enabled them to capture two soldiers of the same brigade as this dirty crusader," said a written statement posted on the Web along with the video.

U.S. officials in Iraq condemned the release of the graphic video. "[Multi-National Division-Baghdad] condemns the release of the video in the strongest of terms; it demonstrates the barbaric and brutal nature of the terrorists and their complete disregard for human life. Coalition forces remain resolute in our commitment to catch perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice."

The video is 4:39 minutes and shows two bodies in torn military uniforms; bloodied and mutilated. One is decapitated and fighters are shown turning the bodies over and also lifting the severed head.

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