Start date for Iraq murders inquiry

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A PUBLIC inquiry examining allegations that UK soldiers killed and tortured civilians in Iraq will begin hearing evidence in March.

The al-Sweady inquiry will look at claims that 20 or more Iraqis were murdered and others suffered horrific abuse after the Battle of Danny Boy in 2004.

It will be the second examination of the case, after an earlier Royal Military Police inquiry was judged inadequate.

Chairman Sir Thayne Forbes, a former High Court judge, will effectively start from a blank sheet. It is not even clear how many Iraqis are alleged to have been killed.

The inquiry is named after 19-year-old Hamid al-Sweady, one of those who died following the firefight between UK soldiers and insurgents at a checkpoint named Danny Boy in southern Iraq.