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Killings of Iraqi journalists: US says they were not war crimes

WikiLeaks posted a video Monday that shows two Iraqi journalists killed in a US attack. US Central Command has released its own probe, saying war crimes were not committed.

Image

This frame grab taken from a video shot from a US army Apache helicopter gun-sight, posted at Wikileaks.org, shows a group of men in the streets of the New Baghdad district of eastern Baghdad just prior to being fired upon by the helicopter July 12, 2007. Among those believed to be killed in the attack were two Iraqi journalists working for Reuters. Two children also were wounded.

Wikileaks.org/AP

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The US Apache helicopters involved in a 2007 attack in Baghdad that killed two Reuters employees acted in accordance with both the laws of war and the Army’s rules for engagement with the enemy, according to an internal US military investigation.

On Monday, the website WikiLeaks.org released a graphic gun-camera video of the attack, in which about a dozen people died, including two Iraqi journalists employed by Reuters. In response, the US Central Command released a heavily redacted, unclassified version of its own probe into the incident.

Crazyhorse 18 and 19, the helicopters in question, were on a directed mission in support of ground forces that had been taking constant fire from insurgents, according to the report. They identified “with reasonable certainty” the presence of military-age males with weapons at a location within 300 feet of the site where US forces were being attacked.

Photos included with the report show the presence of both a rocket-propelled grenade and an AK-47 automatic rifle among group members, according to the report.

“While observing this group of individuals, the [helicopters] satisfied all requirements to initiate the engagement,” according to the investigation.

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