updated 2/3/2005 9:54:00 AM ET 2005-02-03T14:54:00

Britain's attorney general said Thursday that seven British soldiers would stand trial for allegedly murdering an Iraqi civilian in southern Iraq.

Lord Goldsmith said the Army Prosecuting Authority said the paratroopers should face a court-martial in connection with the death of Nadhem Abdullah on May 11, 2003 in Al U'Zayra in southern Iraq.

He gave no further details of the alleged incident, other than that it occurred at a roadside.

Corporal Scott Evans, Private William Nerney, and Daniel Harding, who is now a civilian, together with four men whose names have not yet been disclosed, have been charged with murder and violent disorder, the statement said.

The seven soldiers were all members of the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment at the time of the incident, the statement added.

No date was set for a court martial or preliminary hearing.

Other investigations
Britain, which has some 9,000 troops in Iraq, has launched 160 investigations into deaths and injuries since the U.S.-led invasion, ranging from incidents such as road traffic accidents to people injured when soldiers returned fire.

The majority of those investigations have been closed with no further action being taken; 48 are ongoing and prosecuting authorities are currently discussing whether a further nine cases should be brought forward for prosecution, the defense department said.

Four other cases have been brought to trial, including the ongoing court martial in Germany of two British soldiers accused of abusing Iraqi detainees.

Trooper Kevin Williams, a member of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, is accused of murdering Hassan Said in Ad Dayr, near the city of Basra in southern Iraq, on Aug. 3, 2003 and faces trial later this year at London's Central Criminal Court.

Last month, Private Alexander Johnston of the King's Own Scottish Borderers was fined 750 pounds (US$1,400) and order to pay an injured Iraqi 2000 pounds (US$3,780) in compensation after being found guilty of negligently firing his weapons. An unidentified soldier accused of faking pictures of Iraqi detainees being abused is also to face court martial, officials said.

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