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Despite the announcement late Friday that a military investigation had cleared soldiers in a March incident in the village of Ishaqi, the military is still conducting two investigations into the Haditha case, one to see if U.S. troops committed murder and a second to see if their actions were covered up.
Late today, Pentagon officials told reporters that a military probe had cleared U.S. troops of wrongdoing in a raid last March in the town of Ishaqi, north of Baghdad. A warning: This report contains some graphic footage.
It was one of three known incidents under investigation into allegations that U.S. troops deliberately killed Iraqi civilians and then covered up the circumstances. All three probes pitted an early official U.S. version of events against charges by Iraqis on the ground.
Today, Associated Press television news re-released this graphic on-scene footage shot shortly after the Ishaqi incident. The U.S. military had reported in March that four people died when U.S. forces, pursuing a suspected al-Qaida member, destroyed a house in a ground and air attack.
Iraqi police and some local residents charged that the U.S. raid killed 11 people, most of them women and children. They also said U.S. forces deliberately murdered the Iraqis and then tried to cover up what they'd done by blowing up the building on top of the dead bodies.
This Ishaqi resident, who claimed to have witnessed the event, didn't want his face shown.
ISHAQI RESIDENT (through translator):
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 six-month-old infant was killed.
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