U.S. Slams 'Dead Soldiers' Video - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/11/06 BAGHDAD, Iraq

U.S. Slams 'Dead Soldiers' Video

A statement by the U.S.-led coalition on Tuesday attacked "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 in commitment to catch the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice."

The video, posted Monday, also came with a statement that linked the killings of the soldiers with the alleged rape of an Iraqi female in March.

CNN cannot independently authenticate the video, which does not show the actual killings of the soldiers.

"This video is issued and presented as a revenge for our sister who was dishonored by one of the soldiers of the same brigade that these two soldiers belonged to," reads the statement posted along with the video.

Five soldiers and one former soldier from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division have been charged in connection with the killings in Mahmoudiya of an Iraqi family and the alleged rape of one member of that family, who was also killed.

The two soldiers who were kidnapped and killed in Yusufiya were also members of that regiment. The U.S. military has said that there is no evidence linking the two incidents, however.

The video begins with a printed statement -- "The Media Committee of the Shura Mujahedeen Council in Iraq presents the two bodies of the two Americans who were kidnapped near Yusufiya" -- followed by a still photograph of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, with bin Laden's voice in a statement released earlier this year.

After an Arabic song that encourages revenge, the video shifts to graphic images of the dead soldiers, one of whom has been beheaded.

The voice of Abu Musab al Zarqawi -- the al Qaeda in Iraq leader killed June 7 in a U.S. air strike -- speaks over the video, also from an earlier statement. A photograph of Zarqawi appears in one corner, and the logo of his group appears in another corner.

The two soldiers, Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, were kidnapped June 16 in an attack on a checkpoint in Yusufiya, south of Baghdad. A tip from an Iraqi civilian led searchers to their bodies three days later.

A third soldier, Spc. David J. Babineau, was killed in the attack.

Former Pfc. Steven D. Green -- who was honorably discharged from the Army for having a "personality disorder" -- and four other soldiers have been charged with murder and rape in the Mahmoudiya incident.

Another soldier has been charged for failing to report the incident but is not alleged to have participated. All five are charged with conspiring with Green to commit the crimes.

The U.S. military released their names Monday.

Green, 21, has been charged in a U.S. civilian court. He pleaded not guilty last week in a federal court in Kentucky. The other five have been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The identification card and death certificate of the alleged rape victim indicated she was 14 years old at the time. A Justice Department affidavit in the case against Green says investigators estimated her age at about 25, while the U.S. military said she was 20.

Car bomb hits Green Zone

Attackers in Iraq on Tuesday killed more than 20 people, including 10 people who were carrying a body to Najaf for burial, police officials told CNN.

Gunmen stormed a bus carrying a coffin and killed all 10 on board in the incident, which took place at 10 a.m. in the Baghdad neighborhood of Dora.

Najaf, in southern Iraq, is a city holy to Shiites and it is a common practice for Shiites to bury their loved ones there.

A car bomb detonated near the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 12 others.

On Monday, a spate of bombings followed a bloody weekend of sectarian violence. At least one car bomb exploded in a Shiite Muslim section of eastern Baghdad on Monday, killing five people and wounding 46, Iraqi police said.

The deadly attack began when a car parked near a repair shop blew up, followed within minutes by a suicide car bomber who drove into the crowd that had gathered near the site, according to The Associated Press. 

Three other bombs in the capital left 30 people hurt.

The bombs came a day after gunmen roaming a Baghdad neighborhood on Sunday killed at least 42 ununarmed Iraqis as soon as they identified them as Sunnis, emergency police said.

Hussein trial adjourned

The Saddam Hussein trial -- now being boycotted by private attorneys for the four top defendants in the case over porous security and procedural problems -- has been adjourned for nearly two weeks to give court-appointed lawyers time to prepare closing arguments in case the boycott continues.

Chief Judge Raouf Rasheed Abdel Rahman announced the adjournment of the trial until July 24 after trial sessions resumed on Monday, two days of closing arguments from the defense.

The case revolves around a 1982 government crackdown on Shiites in the city of Dujail after an assassination attempt on the former Iraqi dictator.

A judge on Monday threatened to drag Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants into court if they carried out their threat to boycott the proceedings.

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