Iraqi court convicts US soldiers’ killer


Baghdad : An Iraqi criminal court on Tuesday sentenced to death a man accused in the kidnapping, torture and murder of three young US soldiers on June 14, 2006, and acquitted his two co-defendants.

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The man, Ibrahim Karim al-Qaraguli, 29, was part of a gang of militants operating in an area just south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death.

He appears to have been the driver of one of the vehicles that was used in the soldiers’ abduction and torture.

The kidnapping and killing of the three soldiers, who belonged to the 101st Airborne Division, was one of the more horrific to occur in the course of the war.

Specialist David Babineau, 25, Private First Class Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Private First Class Thomas Tucker, 25, of the 1st Battalion 502nd Regiment of the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division were attacked by a group of insurgents as they sat in their Humvee under a bridge near the Euphrates River.

Babineau was killed in the initial gunfight with the militants, but the other two soldiers were captured and tortured; one was beheaded.

The Mujahideen Shura Council, a militant Sunni group affiliated with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, claimed responsibility for the attack in a video saying that it was revenge for the rape of a 14-year-old girl and the subsequent killing of the girl, her parents and younger sister, which had occurred a few days earlier.