A year after 24 Iraqi civilians were killed in the town of Haditha, eight U.S. Marines have been charged in the crime—four with second-degree murder and four others with covering up the slaughter.
The defence team say a group of marines from Kilo Company in America’s First Marine Division were engaged in a furious battle on 19 November 2005 in Haditha after a roadside bomb exploded, killing one marine and injuring two others.
It is known that five unarmed men were shot dead in a car when they approached the scene in a taxi and others, including women and children, died in three houses over the next few hours.
Those who died included a 76-year-old man and a three-year-old child. There were also several women among the dead.
An initial marine press statement said that some civilians were killed in the initial explosion and others in crossfire by insurgents.
But local people say that there were no bullets fired other than by the marines.