06 October 2004
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
The Pentagon said yesterday it was investigating cockpit video footage that shows American pilots attacking and killing a group of apparently unarmed Iraqi civilians.
The 30-second clip shows the pilot targeting the group of people in a street in the city of Fallujah and asking his mission controllers whether he should "take them out". He is told to do so and, shortly afterwards, the footage shows a huge explosion where the people were. A second voice can be heard on the clip saying: "Oh, dude."
The existence of the video, taken last April inside the cockpit of a US F-16 fighter has been known for some time, though last night's broadcast by Channel 4 News is believed to be the first time a mainstream broadcaster has shown the footage.
At no point during the exchange between the pilot and controllers does anyone ask whether the Iraqis are armed or posing a threat. Critics say it proves war crimes are being committed.
© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd