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US marines massacred 15 Iraqi civilians: report

US Marines went on a rampage in a village in Iraq, killing 15 unarmed residents.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 18:12 IST

US Marines went on a rampage in a village in Iraq, killing 15 unarmed residents including seven women and three children last year after a roadside bomb struck their convoy and killed one of the personnel, a media report has said.

On the morning of November 19, 2005, a bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq killing Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas, Time magazine reported.

The next day, a Marine communiqué reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another.

But details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more "disturbing, disputed and horrific" than the military initially reported, the magazine said.

It quoted eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks as saying that the civilians who died in Haditha on November 19 were killed by the Marines, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack.

The magazine also said it has obtained a videotape that purportedly shows the aftermath of the Marines' assault and provides graphic documentation of its human toll.

Human rights activists say that if the accusations were true, the incident would rank as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by US service members since the war began.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 18:12 IST