According to an American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks citing numerous officials and reports, a team of U.S. soldiers in Iraq may have handcuffed and then executed an entire family — including five children under the age of six and four women. The troops, who were previously cleared of any wrongdoing by a U.S. investigation, then allegedly called for an air strike on the home in an apparent effort to cover up the evidence.
The 2006 massacre, which happened in an Iraqi town called Ishaqi, left at least 10 civilians dead. Among them were 28-year-old farmer Faiz Khalaf, his young wife, and all three of their children — aged five, three, and five months. Khalaf’s 74-year-old mother, his sister, and his two nieces — five and three years old — were also killed after being placed in handcuffs, officials said.
According to multiple accounts, U.S. forces approached the house for a raid at around 2:30 a.m. on March 15. Shots were reportedly fired, though it remains unclear who was shooting and why. But what happened next — the alleged executions — is being called a war crime.
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Photo: A US soldier guards an arrested man after a gunfight in central Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, March 29, 2007: AP Images