Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 19:40 pm (KSA) 16:40 pm (GMT)

U.S. soldier in Iraq jailed for child pornography

U.S. military denies civilian casualties (File)
U.S. military denies civilian casualties (File)

A U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq was sentenced to 18 months in jail on Sunday, for possessing child pornography on his computer, while U.S. air strikes in a Shiite area of Baghdad killed at least two toddlers.

Army Sergeant Angel D. Escobales, 38, pleaded guilty to "wrongfully possessing 12 videos of child pornography on his personal laptop and wrongfully possessing adult pornography", the military said in a statement.

The soldier was convicted at a court-martial on October 9 after members of his unit discovered the material in July, it said.

"A military judge convicted and sentenced Escobales to 18 months confinement, reduction to the grade of private (E-1) and to receive a bad conduct discharge," the military added.

His conviction is the latest to hit the U.S. military in Iraq which faces several scandals in the war-ravaged country, the most notorious being the abuse of Iraqi detainees by troops in Abu Ghraib prison in 2004.

Meanwhile Iraqi police said a total of 13 people were killed in U.S. air strikes and more than 50 had been injured.

In the morgue of Imam Ali hospital in the district of Sadr city the bodies of two toddlers, one wearing a nappy, lay on blankets while doctors tended to wounded men and boys, Reuters video footage showed.

In the house where one of the toddlers lived, a man who said he was a cousin, pointed to bloodstained mattresses and blood-splattered pillows, choking back tears as he held up a photo showing one of the dead children.

"We were waking in the morning and all of a sudden, rockets landed in the house and the children were screaming," said a woman outside the house.

The U.S. military confirmed it had conducted early morning operations in Sadr city "targeting criminals believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of coalition soldiers in November 2006 and May 2007".

But a military spokesman Major Winfield S. Danielson told AFP there were no civilian casualties.

"I can say that we don't have any evidence of any civilians killed or wounded. Coalition forces only engage hostile threats and make very effort to protect innocent civilians."

The U.S. military statement said "six criminals" were killed in the firefight. The clashes erupted as American forces launched a raid in the impoverished neighborhood which is loyal to anti-American religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

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