UK & World News
Red Caps Mob Threat 'Was Ignored' - Claim
New information on the murders of six Royal Military Policemen killed by a mob in southern Iraq suggests that commanders knew they were likely to be attacked before they were sent out on patrol.
It also alleges that subsequent internal military inquiries failed to get to the truth about what happened to the Red Caps.
A former senior Army officer, based in southern Iraq at the time the men were killed in Majar Al Kabir, says there was credible intelligence that insurgents were planning violence in the town, which had been thought to be relatively safe.
Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, Corporal Russell Aston, Corporal Simon Miller, Lance Corporal Ben Hyde and Corporal Paul Long died in the ambush.
The Army officer, who has not been named and is now retired, came forward after Sky News revealed that the families of four of the dead men were preparing to sue the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the murders .
He has stayed silent until now, fearing that he may be prosecuted for potentially breaching the Official Secrets Act
He alleges: "The authorities had received intelligence prior to the events on June 24, 2003 that there would be an escalation in violent attacks in the Al Majarr region.
"The intelligence was of a sensitive nature provided by the general communications officer. It assessed the violence was sponsored by Iranian-backed interests."
Inquests into their deaths heard that the soldiers stood no chance against the mob, having been issued with too little ammunition and poor communication equipment.
The families of Corporals Keys, Miller, Aston and Hyde are taking the legal action together. Their lawyer, Simon McKay, has written to the MoD requesting a response to the intelligence claim.
In his letter he states: "We require you to investigate whether this information is accurate."
He said the need for operational confidentiality "is over-ridden in the circumstances of this case by your obligations under Article 2 (of the Human Rights Act)".
Mr McKay adds: "Our source, who wishes to remain anonymous, may provide a witness statement setting out the detail of information but he would require an assurance that he would not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989 or other legislation.
"We are satisfied he is reliable and the nature of the information he has provided is accurate."
The families are pushing for a full public inquiry into what happened on the day their loved ones died and have asked the Provost Marshall's office to examine the possibility that some officers involved may have broken military law.