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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 00:27 GMT 01:27 UK
Troops cleared of Iraq wrongdoing
US marine patrol near Falluja
Marines and other service personnel will be given ethical training
A US military investigation has found there was no misconduct by US troops over Iraqi civilian deaths in the town of Ishaqi, a spokesman says.

Maj Gen William Caldwell said reports that troops "executed" a family during a raid on a house in March and tried to cover it up were "absolutely false".

Questions over the 11 deaths in Ishaqi come amid a Pentagon inquiry into a bigger alleged massacre in Haditha.

The US has announced extra training in moral and ethical values for troops.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has criticised coalition forces for what he describes as habitual attacks against civilians.

News in the US this week has been dominated by discussion of the investigations in Iraq, the BBC's Adam Brookes reports from Washington.

The Bush administration has had an exceptionally difficult time focusing public attention on what it says is the progress being made by the new Iraqi government, our correspondent says.

'Correct procedures'

A report filed by Iraqi police accused US troops of rounding up and deliberately shooting 11 people in the house in Ishaqi, including five children and four women, before blowing up the building.

Footage shows dead at Ishaqi site
The BBC footage from Ishaqi was cross-checked with other images

Maj Gen Caldwell said the US investigation into events in Ishaqi, where the military says it was attempting to capture insurgents, had found no wrongdoing on the part of the troops.

Four bodies including that of an insurgent were found after the raid while up to nine "collateral deaths" resulted from the US raid, according to the investigation.

It added that a precise death toll could not be determined because of collapsed walls and debris.

All the correct procedures were followed when troops came under fire as they approached the house, Maj Gen Caldwell said.

"The investigation revealed the ground force commander, while capturing and killing terrorists, operated in accordance with the rules of engagement governing our combat forces in Iraq," he added.

"Allegations that the troops executed a family living in this safe house, and then hid the alleged crimes by directing an air strike, are absolutely false."

The outcome of the Pentagon investigation emerged a day after the BBC released video footage that appears to show the aftermath of US action in Ishaqi, about 100km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

'Violence commonplace'

The video tape obtained by the BBC shows a number of dead adults and children at the site with what our world affairs editor John Simpson says were clearly gunshot wounds.

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The pictures came from a hardline Sunni group opposed to coalition forces.

It has been cross-checked with other images taken at the time of events and is believed to be genuine.

Other probes are being carried out into the alleged massacre at Haditha, and also into claims that an Iraqi man was deliberately killed on 26 April in Hamdaniya - and that the circumstances were covered up. Seven marines and a navy sailor are being held over the claims.

The Iraqi government has also launched an investigation into the alleged massacre at Haditha, where eyewitnesses claim US marines shot dead 24 civilians after a roadside bomb attack in November.

Mr Maliki said he would ask the US for the investigative files into the incident.

Violence against civilians was "common among many of the multinational forces", he added.

Many troops had "no respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch", he added.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Friday that 99.9% of US forces conducted "themselves in an exemplary manner".

Watch Ishaqi footage obtained by the BBC

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