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Aug 17, 1:47 PM EDT

Iraq government may prosecute those behind abuses in Mosul

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BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Iraqi prime minister's office has acknowledged incidents of abuses perpetrated by the security forces against civilians in Mosul during the battle against the Islamic State group in the city.

Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi says those found responsible have been referred to the country's judicial system, raising the possibility of their prosecution.

Thursday's statement didn't elaborate.

Al-Hadithi was referring to allegations reported by an Iraqi photographer for Germany's Der Spiegel magazine in May. The report alleged Iraq's Emergency Response Division - an elite force linked to the Interior Ministry - tortured and killed civilians in and around Mosul.

The force played a key role in the Mosul operation and was closely backed by the U.S.-led coalition.

Al-Hadithi says a committee established to investigate the allegations has confirmed they took place.

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