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UK orders probe into Iraqi prisoners' abuse video

British Govt has ordered a probe following the appearance of a video showing British soldiers brutally beating Iraqi youths.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 22:21 IST

The British government ordered an investigation on Sunday following the appearance of a video showing British soldiers brutally beating Iraqi youths.

Chancellor Gordon Brown, Prime Minister Tony Blair's designated successor, said that the reputation of the British army worldwide had to be defended and the necessary action taken.

The video was originally obtained by the Sunday tabloid News of the World and has since been broadcast by the BBC and many other stations overseas. It appears to show British troops in southern Iraq pulling four harmless-looking Iraqi youths into a military compound and then kicking and beating them with sticks.

The BBC counted that within one minute, the youths received 42 blows. They were also kicked, one of them in the genitals.

According to the paper, the video was filmed two years ago by a British soldier after street disturbances in Basra.

A spokesman for British troops in Iraq said the accusations of brutality connected to the video related "to only a tiny number of the 80,000 personnel that have served in Iraq" since the US-led invasion began in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We condemn all acts of abuse and brutality," military spokesman Chris Thomas said in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, where come 8,000 British soldiers are stationed.

The newspaper vouched for the authenticity of the video.

"We've made enquires of the source, of people around the source, of military experts, of the Ministry of Defence and beyond," managing editor Stuart Kuttner said.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 22:19 IST