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Massacre Of Iraqi Army Troops Investigated

The aftermath of the execution (file photo) 27 October 2004 -- Iraqi authorities say an investigation has been launched into the massacre of 49 newly trained Iraqi Army recruits.

Officials of the interim government said investigators will be probing whether insurgents had infiltrated military ranks to obtain information about troop movements.

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi yesterday told the National Council, a government oversight body, that he believed the massacre of the unarmed recruits on 23 October was due to a "major neglect" of security duties by U.S.-led coalition forces.

"There was an ugly crime in which a large group of National Guards were martyred," Allawi said. "We believe this was the result of major neglect by some parts of the multinational [forces] and it reflected a determination to harm Iraq and the Iraqi people."

He gave no details about how the coalition had failed.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya television, Defense Minister Hazim al-Sha'lan al-Khuza'i blamed the recruits themselves for the massacre. He said they had decided to leave the Kirkush training camp for home immediately after graduating and had taken an unauthorized route.


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