A British sniper is being investigated for killing an Iraqi insurgent without shouting a warning first.
The Telegraph reports that the soldier is being investigated for shooting dead an insurgent, who was allegedly preparing to fire a rocket propelled grenade, because he did not warn the man – according to a pressure group which represents former members of the armed forces.
They also accuse IHAT of running a ‘witch hunt’ against British soldiers who served in Iraq as it investigates allegations of murder and torture.
The accused sniper’s account doesn’t say when or where the incident happened and could not be immediately verified.
UK Veterans One Voice, however, has published the dramatic tale which begins with the words: “This is not fiction”.
It describes how a British base was attacked by an Iraqi armed with an RPG after Friday prayers over a period of weeks. Soldiers were reportedly told not to fire back for fear of hurting onlookers who gathered to watch after they left the mosque.
Then one Thursday, a patrol returned without a sniper team either by accident or design.
The following day, the same insurgent was spotted preparing to launch his weekly attack.
“As the insurgent’s finger tightened on the trigger of the RPG, a single shot cracked out,” says the account.
The account dramatically describes the scene:
The round flew almost 1200 metres across the face of the crowd missing them safely. The RPG jumped unfired into the air and the insurgent’s body briefly flew across the ground having been hit by a veteran of long military service, a graduate of the Army Sniper School.
The distance of the shot ruled out a shouted warning, says the pressure group.
Duty done, eventually, the sniper returned home to the UK and a happy civilian family life, with the respect of those who know him.
Yet now it says the sniper is the subject of an IHAT investigation for unlawful killing.
The Ministry of Defence set up IHAT in 2010 after dozens of claims from Iraq were submitted by British lawyers.
Initially, £57 million was put aside to investigate 152 allegations of unlawful killing and abuse. However, since then, the number of cases has passed 1,500, provoking anger among veterans and their families who say they are being treated unfairly.
UK Veterans One Voice is planning a series of marches next month to highlight the issue.
In a message to their supporters they said:
We ask for a stop to the current trend of ‘bash a soldier’ that is making a mint for lawyers, but ruining lives of individuals.