Pressure for the truth over the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November is growing, with a report in an American newspaper claiming US officials have said Marines opened fire in an unprovoked attack.
White House spokesman Tony Snow spoke to reporters: “I have been told and was assured when I called earlier today about this, when this comes out, all the details will be made available to the public, so we’ll have a picture of what happened.” The Haditha case came to light after local people passed on video footage to the foreign media. The confrontation began when a roadside bomb killed a US Marine. The US military has subsequently confirmed that its initial claim the civilians were killed by the blast was false, and that instead the victims were shot by American soldiers. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is losing patience: “Mistakes may happen, it isn’t strange, but there is an acceptable limit to mistakes, but when they exceed this limit and turn to disrespect to the people’s dignity and the people’s blood, this for us means a disdain for the lives of the innocent.” The alleged incident in Haditha last November has led to two investigations – one into the shooting itself and the other into whether there was a coverup. Charges including murder could be brought against some Marines after the investigation.