The Independent on Wednesday said it had uncovered evidence about the deaths of six Iraqi civilians - whose families alleged were killed by British soldiers - in the British-controlled south of Iraq.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence in London had no immediate information on the report.

In a front-page article, the newspaper said that army investigators had exhumed the bodies of an unspecified number of civilians who were allegedly shot dead by soldiers and would carry out forensic tests.

"The Independent has uncovered evidence relating to the deaths of six Iraqi civilians whose families claim they were killed by British troops," it said.

Army probe

The Army Prosecuting Authority was looking into two of these cases, which were expected to result in charges, the daily said.

"It is not known whether British troops will face any charges in relation to the other cases but the government is believed to be considering claims for compensation from the families," it added.

The report comes at a time when three British soldiers are facing trial for abusing Iraqi civilians.

The two fresh cases that are being investigated involve a man called Ghanim Gatta al-Rumi, who was allegedly killed outside his home in January 2004, and Walid Faai Muzban, who was allegedly shot dead at an army checkpoint in August 2003, The Independent said.