US soldier in war crimes probe killed Iraqis: Report

Calvin Gibbs is among five Stryker soldiers charged with premeditated murder.

Washington: A US soldier already facing murder charges for allegedly killing Afghan civilians is also linked to the 2004 deaths of several unarmed Iraqi soldiers, Washington Post reported.

Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs is accused, along with four other soldiers, of opening fire on Afghan civilians in unprovoked assaults over several months in southern Kandahar province. Seven others are accused of dismembering bodies and removing bones.

A first day of pre-trial hearings opened on Monday, focusing on Specialist Jeremy Morlock. But the proceedings stalled amid a decision by several witnesses and three of the accused to invoke their right to remain silent.

Citing a report filed by a special agent for the US Army`s Criminal Investigations Command, the Washington Post said Gibbs and the others had actually killed four Afghan civilians, not three as initially disclosed by the US Army.

Army investigative reports also found that soldiers in Gibbs`s unit-the 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment-gave sworn statements saying it was his idea to randomly target Afghan civilians and lie about the affair, the Post added yesterday.

It said the US Army was now scrutinising Gibbs`s past, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, especially re-examining a 2004 incident in which he and other soldiers allegedly fired on an unarmed Iraqi family riding in a car, killing two adults and a child.