A veteran US sergeant was today charged with murdering five fellow soldiers at a forces stress clinic in Iraq.
The shootings yesterday were the deadliest case of soldier-on-soldier violence since the Iraq war began in 2003 and drew attention to the issue of combat stress and frequent deployments to battle zones.
John Russell was taken into custody by military police outside the clinic following the shooting at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad.
Two of the dead were officers – doctors from the Army and Navy – and the others were personnel seeking treatment at the clinic.
The US military is coping with a growing number of stress cases among soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan – many of whom are on their third or fourth combat tours.
An army spokesman said Russell, on his third tour of Iraq, had been referred to the clinic by his superiors, presumably because of concern over his mental state.