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UN Expert Seeks Probe Into Iraq Abuse Claims

3 May 2004 -- A United Nations rights expert today called on authorities in Iraq to establish an independent investigation into the way coalition forces are treating civilians in Al-Fallujah.

UN expert Paul Hunt said he has received "credible allegations" that coalition troops are using excessive force resulting in civilian deaths and preventing medical workers from treating patients in the predominantly Sunni city.

Meanwhile, six U.S. soldiers were reprimanded in connection to alleged abuses of Iraqi prisoners at a U.S.-run prison in Baghdad.

Another six soldiers are facing criminal charges.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi today said the alleged abuses are breeding and spreading hatred throughout the Middle East.

In Al-Najaf, militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr today fired mortar rounds at U.S. troops at a base, provoking retaliatory fire.

The shelling began overnight. Two Iraqis, including a policeman, were reportedly killed in the violence.

South of Baghdad today, one U.S. soldier was killed and two others were wounded when they came under small-arms fire.