Australia's public broadcaster has aired what it says are new, unpublished photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

The images are said to be from the same time period as photos released in 2004 that sparked widespread criticism of U.S. detention conditions.

Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman says the department believes further release of these images could only inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world and endanger U.S. military personnel. He did not comment on the specific images in the broadcast.

Australia's government-funded Special Broadcasting Station (SBS) said the images "reveal further widespread abuse including new incidents of homicide, torture and sexual humiliation."

The photographs are also at the center of an ongoing legal battle. A federal judge had granted the American Civil Liberties Union access to the photos last year, but the U.S. government has appealed the decision.