Navy SEAL accused of killing teen IS prisoner

An elite Navy SEAL veteran could be jailed for life over the alleged murder of a teenage Islamic State (IS) prisoner in his custody.

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is accused of killing the unarmed fighter, thought to be 15 years old, while under his care in Iraq in May 2017.

He is said to have stabbed the youngster to death and then posed for a photo with the corpse and the knife he used to carry out the murder at his re-enlistment ceremony.

Image: The soldier has twice been awarded the Bronze Star for his service. Pic:

Prosecutors have also charged the decorated soldier – who has been awarded the prestigious Bronze Star twice for his military service overseas – with the shooting of other unarmed Iraqi civilians.

These include an elderly man carting a water jug in June 2017 and a girl walking along a riverbank a month later.

The 19-year Navy veteran will plead not guilty to all charges at a hearing on Friday, but faces life in prison if convicted during his trial.

Gallagher faces life behind bars if convicted
Image: Gallagher faces life behind bars if convicted

The case against him includes evidence from fellow Navy SEALs, whom Gallagher claims have falsely accused him because they wanted to get rid of a demanding platoon leader.

During a two-day preliminary hearing at a naval base in San Diego, California, in November, Gallagher was painted as someone who had gone off the rails during what was his eighth deployment.

The IS fighter he is accused of murdering had been handed over to US troops in the Iraqi city of Mosul to receive treatment for injuries sustained during an airstrike.

Gallagher is accused of fatally stabbing the teenager in his neck and body, after which he told a colleague that he had been "working on him" when he "just died".

More than $200,000 has been raised to pay for Gallagher's defence. Pic:
Image: More than $200,000 has been raised to pay for Gallagher's defence. Pic:

His lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, told a hearing at the naval base that he died from injuries from the airstrike and added that his client also denied accusations that he deliberately killed Iraqi civilians.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Joe Warpinski told the court that members of SEAL Team 7 had informed him that Gallagher would fire into crowds, which led to the deaths of the man and the girl in Mosul.

He allegedly threatened to publicly name fellow SEALs if they reported his actions.

According to Mr Warpinski, some SEALs were so concerned that they did not tell him his sniper rifle settings were off so his shooting would be less accurate – and they would fire warning shots to clear areas of civilians.

Prosecutors have accused his commander, Lieutenant Jacob Portier, of not acting on the claims made against Gallagher and his first hearing is to be arranged.

There has also been speculation in the US that the case may widen to implicate others for not reporting what they saw.

But for now it is focused on Gallagher, who has been in custody since 11 September.

An online fundraiser has amassed more than $200,000 (£158,361) for his defence costs.

More from US

The page, set up by the Navy SEALs fund, states: "Eddie's record and reputation as an elite warrior is rivalled only by a few men who have served by his side as special warfare operators and heroes who have gone before him."

Mr Stackhouse said that Gallagher was looking forward to the trial to clear his name, adding: "He's never run from a fight and he's not going to run from this one."

Original Article