Three US soldiers have been charged over the deaths of three male prisoners in Iraq, the US military has said.
The detainees were allegedly killed in a military operation near the Thar Thar Canal in southern Iraq on 9 May.

The charges against the three soldiers include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and obstructing justice.

US troops in Iraq have faced several accusations of unlawfully killing civilians and abusing detainees, prompting inquiries into their conduct.

The US military recently began investigating the deaths of 24 unarmed civilians in the town of Haditha last year in an attack blamed on US marines.

The three soldiers charged on Monday are from the 101st Airborne Division.

Their unit commander had ordered an inquiry on the day the alleged murders took place, the US military said.

A statement by the military said the inquiry had been ordered after soldiers became suspicious about the circumstances in which the detainees had died.

The military said a criminal investigation had been started on 17 May and was "ongoing".

The accused soldiers are currently said to be in "pre-trial confinement", awaiting a further hearing that will decide if there is enough evidence to court-martial them.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5096660.stm