US snipers testify against Navy SEAL in killing of Iraqi civilians, injured captive
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US snipers testify against Navy SEAL in killing of Iraqi civilians, injured captive

During a court hearing on Friday, DNA experts and military snipers took the stand against veteran SEAL Edward (Eddie) Gallagher and talked about the evidence in the case, including how he allegedly shot a young girl and old man in Iraq two years ago. The fellow SEALs testified that while they did not witness the actual killing of the two Iraqi civilians, they did hear the shots coming from Gallagher’s position, insisting that the child and man he is accused of shooting were both spotted falling to the ground, with the snipers witnessing it through their scopes. According to the testimony of the two snipers, Gallagher — a medic and the pair’s platoon leader — was holed up in a sniper’s perch at the time and allegedly confirmed the kills over the radio. “You guys missed him, but I got him,” Gallagher said of the old man, according to Special Operator Dalton Tolbert, one of the two fellow SEALs. Tolbert further told the San Diego court that he was furious with Gallagher’s behavior and reported it to members of SEAL Team 7 via text message. “I shot more warning shots to save civilians from Eddie than I ever did at ISIS,” Tolbert reportedly wrote. “I see an issue with that.” The other SEAL sniper – identified as Special Operator Joshua Vriens -- said he watched 40-year-old Gallagher shoot an unsuspecting Iraqi girl in the stomach from his perch on a different day, noting that the child was wearing a floral hijab and appeared to be between the ages 12 and 14. While he and Tolbert said that they were unable to witness the actual pulling of the trigger by Gallagher, Vriens did underline that he witnessed the wounded youngster being dragged away through the scope of his rifle. Both shootings took place just weeks after a group of SEALs allegedly witnessed Gallagher stabbing a wounded and captive Daesh (ISIL) militant to death while he was treating him medically. The May 2017 incident was also recounted by another US SEAL member, identified as Special Operator Corey Scott, who shockingly claimed to have carried out the killing himself. “I knew he was going to die anyway,” Scott said of the wounded militant. “I wanted to save him from waking up to what had happened next.” Scott was granted immunity to testify in favor of Gallagher, according to local press reports, which added that six SEALs have so far taken the stand in Gallagher’s trial, which entered its fourth day of proceedings on Friday. Trump vowed to pardon soldiers convicted of war crimes The development came just weeks after US President Donald Trump vowed to pardon Gallagher and other US troops convicted or accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan during their deployments there as military “advisers” and combat forces. Vriens further asserted during his testimony that Gallagher confessed to killing the injured ISIL militant after being shown photos of his body later that day. “I stabbed him in the side, then grabbed him by the hair and looked him in the eyes and I stabbed him in the neck,” Vriens recalled him as saying. Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder for allegedly shooting the Iraqi young girl and the elderly man, as well as murder for the alleged stabbing of the Daesh militant. He will be facing a life sentence, if convicted. This is while Gallagher’s defense team argued in court that the testimonies by Vriens and Tolbert were not reliable because neither of them actually saw him pull the trigger. Gallagher’s trial is expected to last several more weeks. The jury is made up of several military men, including one Navy SEAL and a Navy commander. Most have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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