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UPDATED: 09:15, June 08, 2006
U.S. Marine chief promises support for probe of killings in Iraq
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Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Michael Hagee, promised Wednesday full support for the investigation into allegations that American Marines killed Iraqi civilians.

"As commandant, I am gravely concerned about the serious allegations concerning actions of some Marines at Haditha and Hamdaniyah," he told a Pentagon news briefing.

Hagee said the Marine Corps took the allegations seriously, and were committed to fully supporting the investigations of both incidents.

The Pentagon was investigating allegations of war atrocities committed by U.S. Marines in Iraq.

There were at least three incidents over the past several months in which U.S. soldiers were accused of killing Iraqi civilians.

On Nov. 19 last year, 24 Iraqis were allegedly killed by U.S. Marines in the western town of Haditha, and investigations were underway into the deaths and possible cover-ups by the military.

On April 26 this year, some Marines were accused of taking a disabled Iraqi out of his home and killing him in the central Iraqi village of Hamdaniyah.

A third incident took place in March this year, in which 11 Iraqi civilians, including five children, were killed during a U.S. -led raid against a suspected al Qaida site in Ishaqi.

Hagee declined to comment on the investigations, bur promise to punish those found responsible.

"If it turns out that an individual violated rules or regulations, he will be held accountable regardless of grade or position," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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