Top U.S. official: Iraq has executed some POWs
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iraq has executed some prisoners of war in what the Pentagon's No. 2 general described Wednesday as one of many "disgusting" war crimes committed by forces loyal to Saddam Hussein.
"They have executed prisoners of war," said Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live."
Pace did not elaborate. Earlier in the day, Pentagon sources told CNN they were looking into a report that Iraqi soldiers shot dead seven U.S. Army soldiers as they were surrendering with their hands up Sunday.
Iraqi television showed video of five U.S. soldiers in custody after their capture Sunday and the bodies of at least five other soldiers who had bullet wounds to their foreheads. Iraq has since taken two U.S. Apache helicopter pilots captive and shown video of them.
To the families of the prisoners of war, Pace said the U.S. military is doing "everything we can to locate and free their sons and their daughters."
"I don't know what to say to them that could help ease their pain. I can't imagine what they're going through," he said of the families. "We all hope and pray that this war can end quickly so that we can repatriate POWs."
General: Iraqis hang woman for waving to coalition troops
The Marine general said that what has surprised him most about the first week of fighting is the extent of war crimes carried out by the Iraqi regime. In addition to the execution of POWs, he said, Iraqis have used civilians as human shields, stored weapons in schools, set up command posts in hospitals and pretended to surrender only to open fire.
In one case, an Iraqi woman was hanged after she waved to coalition forces, Pace said.
"I've never seen anything like this," he said. "To do it so blatantly so early, not only is it a surprise, but to me it's disgusting."
Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross said its teams in Baghdad and Kuwait are negotiating over access to Iraqi and U.S. prisoners of war. But to date, their teams have not had contact with the prisoners. Pace said coalition forces have captured more than 4,000 Iraqi soldiers. (Full story)
The seven known U.S. prisoners of war are:
• U.S. Army Spec. Joseph Hudson, 24, of the 507th Maintenance Company. He and four others were taken prisoner Sunday after their convoy was ambushed by Iraqi forces in southern Iraq.
• U.S. Army Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, of the 507th Maintenance Company.
• U.S. Army Spec. Shoshana Johnson, 30, of the 507th Maintenance Company.
• U.S. Army Spec. Edgar Hernandez, 21, of the 507th Maintenance Company.
• U.S. Sgt. James Riley, 31, of the 507th Maintenance Company.
• U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer David S. Williams, 30, of Florida.
• U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D. Young, 26, of Georgia.
Williams and Young were both in an Apache helicopter when it went down Monday near Karbala, about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad. The Pentagon has said a search-and-rescue operation was launched immediately after their helicopter was lost, but it had to be called off due to heavy Iraqi fire in the area.