Three people are now in custody in connection with video footage appearing to show British soldiers beating protestors after a demonstration in the southern Iraqi city of Amarah. The British Defence Ministry has confirmed one is a serving soldier.
There are no details about the others being held. Meanwhile, two Iraqis who claim to be among the alleged victims in the video have announced they plan to sue the British Army. One of the alleged victims, 27-year-old Bassem Shaker, said they would be seeking compensation. The allegations of abuse have fuelled anger among locals. Authorities in the area around Basra where the British troops are based have severed all relations with the force. It is further evidence of a breakdown in relations which began last month after British and Danish raids on the homes of Iraqi policemen suspected of criminal activities. Around 80,000 British troops have served in Iraq since the start of the US-led invasion in March 2003. Until recently, they have been credited with establishing good relations with local authorities and communities.