[JURIST] US military officials in Iraq said Monday that, despite press reports to the contrary, three soldiers killed earlier this summer near Mahmudiya were not involved [press release] in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl [JURIST news archive] and the murder of her family in that area. The military has charged [JURIST report] five US soldiers from the 502nd Infantry Regiment in connection with the rape and murders, but there is no evidence suggesting the involvement of Specialist David Babineau and Privates First Class Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca, who were abducted and killed in June after an attack on their isolated outpost.
A group linked to al Qaeda released a video in July that showed two of the dead soldiers' bodies and said the troops were killed to avenge the deaths of the family killed in Mahmudiya. The rape and murders there have outraged Iraqi leaders [JURIST report], prompting an independent investigation [JURIST report] by Iraqis into the crimes allegedly committed by US troops. US military officials are still deciding whether the five charged will face court-martial [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.