By Rick Jervis and Andrea Stone, USA TODAY
BAGHDAD — Four more soldiers were charged with rape and murder in connection with the slaying of a young Iraqi woman and her family in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, the U.S. military announced Sunday.
Another soldier was accused of failing to report the offenses but was not believed to be involved in the attack, a military statement said. The soldiers, who are from the 101st Airborne Division and whose names were not released, were charged Saturday.
In all, six soldiers have been implicated in the March 12 incident, the latest of several alleged crimes by U.S. servicemembers in Iraq. Ex-soldier Steven Green was charged with one count of rape and four counts of murder. He pleaded not guilty to killing the young woman, her parents and 5-year-old sister.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in Green's case, Green and others targeted the young woman for a week before the attack. Army spokesman Paul Boyce said investigators were trying to determine the age of the young woman. Military spokesman Maj. Mark Wright said investigators have asked Iraqi authorities to help navigate cultural sensitivities to exhume the body.
The soldiers drank alcohol, abandoned their checkpoint, changed clothes to avoid detection and headed to the victims' house, about 200 yards from a U.S. military checkpoint, the affidavit said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week called for an independent investigation. He also questioned why U.S. troops receive immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for crimes committed there.
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