US Rep. John Murtha, D-PA, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Murtha, a former Marine colonel, accused US Marines of killing innocent Iraqi civilians after a Marine comrade had been killed by a roadside bomb.(AFP/Getty Images/Win McNamee)
A US lawmaker and former Marine colonel accused US Marines of killing
innocent Iraqi civilians after a Marine comrade had been killed by a roadside
"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed
innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters. The November
19 incident occurred in Haditha, Iraq.
"There was no firefight" that led to the shootings at close range,
the Vietnam war veteran said, denying early official accounts, which said that
a roadside bomb had killed the Iraqis.
"There were no (roadside bombs) that killed these innocent people,"
Time magazine reported the shootings on March 27, based on an Iraqi human rights
group and locals, who said that 15 unarmed Iraqis died, including women and
children, when Marines barged into their home throwing grenades and shooting.
"It's much worse than reported in Time magazine," Murtha said.
At least three Marine officers are under official investigation, and no report
has been released, Army Times said Tuesday.
Murtha is a harsh critic of the war in Iraq and said that such incidents are
the result of inadequate planning, training and troop numbers in Iraq.