Britain's Ministry of Defence has said that a man has been arrested in connection with video footage of British troops allegedly abusing Iraqi civilians.

The arrest was made last night by the Royal Military Police, and follows investigations into what the MoD described as extremely serious allegations.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, had said yesterday that a full investigation would be carried out into the allegations.

The video came to light in yesterday's News of the World, which said the images came from a video recorded in southern Iraq two years ago.

The video footage appears to show troops dragging four young protestors off a street and into a compound where they are punched, kicked and hit with batons.

An unidentified cameraman can be heard on the tape laughing and urging his colleagues on.

The pictures are being shown hourly on Arabic television.