Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rape allegations amid car bombings

Rape allegations amid Iraq car bombings
By Christian Berthelsen, Times Staff Writer
10:29 AM PST, February 21, 2007

BAGHDAD -- Questions about the alleged rape of a woman by Iraqi police swirled around the U.S.-led security operation in Iraq today, as car bombings and an assassination left at least 19 people dead around the country and another U.S. helicopter went down.

One of the car bombings involved another effort to explode chlorine gas canisters, the second time in two days that insurgents have used crude chemical weapons attacks to target civilians. At least two people were killed, 25 poisoned and eight others injured in the attack.

In the rape case, a 20-year-old Sunni woman first came forward Sunday with allegations that she was attacked by three Iraqi police officers who searched her house, accused her of aiding insurgents and took her to a local police station. She later went to a U.S. medical facility for treatment, which admitted her and released her the following morning. She described the alleged attack in an interview that began airing on television here Monday.

The Iraqi government quickly dismissed her allegations, clearing the officers after a one-day investigation and accusing the victim of being an impostor wanted on criminal warrants. In the process they named her and gave out other identifying details.

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