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Details Emerge in Alleged Army Rape, Killings

Janabi said U.S. soldiers controlled the scene of the killings for several hours on March 11, telling neighbors that insurgents were responsible. The bodies of the victims were taken to Mahmudiyah hospital by March 12, according to Janabi and an official at the hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On March 13, a man identifying himself as a relative claimed the bodies for burial, the hospital official said. An hour after the man left with the bodies, U.S. soldiers came to the hospital and asked about the bodies, the hospital official said.

The next day, the hospital official said, soldiers scoured the area, trying to find the funeral for the family.

"But they did not find it, simply because the relatives did not do it, because the death includes the rape of one of the family members, which is something shameful in our tradition," the hospital official said.

"The family kept the news a secret, fearing the disgrace," he said. "They thought it was done by militias, not U.S. forces."

Reached by telephone Saturday at his home in Iskandariyah, south of Mahmudiyah, a member of the extended family would not discuss the incident.

"What is the benefit of publishing this story?" said Abeer's uncle, Bassem. "People will read about this crime. And they will forget about it the next day."

Two special correspondents in Mahmudiyah and special correspondent Bassam Sebti in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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