UK shuts down contentious probe into Iraq War abuse claims

The British government says it is shutting down a seven-year-old inquiry into allegations of abuse by U.K. troops in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the Iraq Historic Allegations Team will close within months. About 20 cases it is investigating will be dealt with by the Royal Navy Police.

The team was set up by the government in 2010, but has long been criticized by portions of Britain's political and military establishment.

On Friday, Parliament's Defense Committee said the inquiry had empowered lawyers "to generate cases against service personnel at an industrial level."

One of the main lawyers acting for claimants has since been disbarred, and Fallon says most of the allegations have "fallen away."

Britain's 2003-2009 military deployment in southern Iraq spawned multiple allegations of torture and abuse.