The lawyer for a Marine being investigated in the deaths of two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, described the event as “tragic,” but denied innocent people were killed intentionally and said troops followed military rules of engagement.
No one has been charged in the Haditha case, which centers on allegations that a small number of Marines from Camp Pendleton’s 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment killed 24 Iraqi civilians, including unarmed women and children, on Nov. 19 after a roadside bomb killed a fellow Marine.
Lawyer Neal A. Puckett said Sunday that Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, told him several civilians were killed after the bombing when his squad pursued insurgents firing at them from inside a house.
Puckett quoted the sergeant as describing a house-to-house search that went wrong and resulted in unintended civilian deaths. Wuterich denied allegations of an intentional massacre, Puckett said.