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thedrifter
03-16-06, 07:32 PM
US military probes deaths of 15 Iraqis in November
Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:44 PM ET

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has launched a criminal investigation into possible wrongdoing by Marines in the deaths of 15 Iraqi civilians in an incident in November in the town of Haditha, defense officials said on Thursday.

The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, responsible for cases involving Marines, is looking into the possible role played by U.S. Marines in the deaths, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe has not been formally announced.

A military statement released a day after the November 19, 2005, incident said an improvised explosive device detonated, killing a U.S. Marine as well as the 15 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, an insurgent stronghold about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad.

The statement said the powerful roadside bomb detonated as a U.S. military convoy was passing through the town. After the detonation, gunmen opened fire on the convoy, and Americans and Iraqi government forces returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another, according to the military statement in 2005.

A cameraman working for Reuters in Haditha at the time said bodies were left lying in the street for hours after the attack.

The defense officials did not indicate what possible charges could be brought or when the investigation was expected to be completed.

Haditha lies at the edge of Iraq's western desert province of Anbar, the heartland of the insurgency, where U.S. troops have launched a series of major offensives.

One part of that campaign, dubbed Operation Rivergate, focused on Haditha and two nearby towns. Among other things, it sought to destroy bridges along the river to prevent insurgents from entering Iraq from Syria.

Ellie

thedrifter
03-17-06, 04:55 PM
Commander Directs Investigation Into Possible Abuse by Marines
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2006 – The commander of Multinational Corps Iraq has directed further investigation into events surrounding a Nov. 19 insurgent attack in Haditha, Iraq, military officials reported today.

In the incident in question, Marines responded to an improvised-explosive-device and small-arms-fire attack on their convoy, Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli said in a news conference today. Reporters brought allegations of potential misconduct to the attention of U.S. officials, he said.

Chiarelli initiated a preliminary investigation Feb. 14 when allegations of possible violations of the rules of engagement were brought up.

On March 9, Chiarelli was presented with the initial findings of that preliminary investigation. Based on the recommendation of the investigating officer, he directed further review of the incident, he said

"We take these allegations of potential misconduct seriously, and they will be thoroughly investigated," Chiarelli said.

Ellie