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Wikileak prompts Iraq probe into US 'executions'

The Iraqi government is to investigate allegations that, in 2006, U.S. soldiers executed women and children, and then sought to cover their crimes with an air-strike.

The probe was instigated after details of the incident appeared in a document leaked by whistle-blowing outfit Wikileaks.

In the document, written 12 days after the incident, a U.N. inspector, Philip Alston, said autopsies performed in the Iraqi city of Tikrit showed that all the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head. There were four women and five children aged five or under amongst the dead. The US soldiers responsible apparently called up an air-strike in an attempt to obliterate any evidence.

After a three-month investigation into the incident in the village of Ishaqi on March 15, 2006, the Pentagon decided everything had been above board and the local accounts were hogwash.

Alston, who is a UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, wrote to McClatchy Newspapers this week noting that neither the US nor Iraqi government had answered any of his requests for information in years.

Today, Ali Al-Moussawi, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said the Iraqi government will reopen its investigation into the incident in the light of what it calls new evidence from the cable.