Five US Army soldiers are being investigated for allegedly raping a young woman, then killing her and three members of her family in Iraq, a US military official said on Friday.
The soldiers also allegedly burned the body of the woman they are accused of raping in the March incident, the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Maj Gen James D Thurman, commander of coalition troops in Baghdad, had ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged killing of a family of four in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, the US Command said. It did not elaborate.
"The entire investigation will encompass everything that could have happened that evening. We're not releasing any specifics of an ongoing investigation," said military spokesman Maj Todd Breasseale.
"There is no indication what led soldiers to this home. The investigation just cracked open. We're just beginning to dig into the details."
However, a US official close to the investigation said at least one of the soldiers, all assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, has admitted his role and has been arrested. Two soldiers from the same regiment were slain this month when they were kidnapped at a checkpoint near Youssifiyah.
The official, however, said the soldiers were from the same platoon as the two slain soldiers, whose bodies were mutilated. He said the mutilation of the bodies of the two soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one of them to reveal the rape-slaying on June 2.