British soldiers mistreated nine detainees after a 2004 battle in Iraq, the Al-Sweady Inquiry into allegations of abuse has ruled.

The inquiry found that the detainees had been sujected to ill treatment and the conduct of some soldiers "fell below the high standards normally to be expected of the British army".

However, the inquiry said that allegations of murder and torture against the British army were based on "deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility".

The hearing, taking place in central London, is examining allegations that detainees captured after a 2004 battle were mistreated.

Inquiry chairman Sir Thayne Forbes said the "most serious allegations...hanging over these soldiers for the past 10 years" had been made "without foundation".

The inquiry was ordered in 2009 by defence secretary at the time, Bob Ainsworth, and has cost more than £31m, according to British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.