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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Warrants issued in Red Caps probe
From top left: Sgt Simon Alexander Hamilton-Jewell; Cpl Russell Aston; Cpl Paul Graham Long; Cpl Simon Miller; L/Cpl Benjamin Hyde; L/Cpl Thomas Keys
An inquest found that the men should have been better equipped
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of a number of Iraqis wanted over the murder of six Red Caps, it has been revealed.

The men, from the Goojerat Barracks in Essex, were killed by a mob at a police station in Majar al-Kabir in 2003.

The case is now being dealt with by Iraqi authorities with help from the British army.

The news was announced to families and friends of the men in a meeting with Defence Secretary John Reid.

SIX DEATHS IN IRAQ
Cpl Simon Miller
21, from Tyne and Wear
Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell
41, of Chessington, Surrey
Cpl Russell Aston
30, of Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Cpl Paul Long
24, from Colchester
L/Cpl Benjamin McGowan Hyde
23, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire
L/Cpl Tom Keys
20, of Bala, North Wales

Eleven family members and friends were at the London meeting for an update on the ongoing investigation.

Mike Aston, of Swindlicote, Derbyshire, whose son Russell was among those who died, said the meeting had been a "very productive" update.

"Dr Reid listened to us very carefully and had a great deal of sympathy," he said.

"Even though it is incredibly slow, we are reassured that it is ongoing.

"It has certainly been a long time coming."

Although he said he could not discuss specific details of the investigation, Mr Aston said he felt there had been "a step forward".

"What Dr Reid has agreed to do is to write to the families every six weeks to provide an update - even if he has no new information," he added.

We are committed to pursuing this issue and will continue to update the families as the situation develops
John Reid

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Reid said the loss of the men had been felt throughout the British military and had "struck a grievous blow to the families".

"The case to bring the killers to justice is now being dealt with by the central criminal court of Iraq and we have been doing all that we can to help bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to account," he added.

"We are committed to pursuing this issue and will continue to update the families as the situation develops."

The deaths of the men almost three years ago was the biggest loss of life in a clash between UK ground forces and Iraqi civilians.

An inquest at the end of March into the deaths found that the men should have been better equipped, but their deaths could not have been avoided.

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner said the men should not have been given antiquated radios and inadequate ammunition, and said he would write to Mr Reid about army equipment and procedures.


SEE ALSO:
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25 Jun 03 |  Middle East


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