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December 21, 2006 3:00 AM

Marines charged with murder in deaths of Iraqi civilians

Four Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif., were charged Thursday with multiple counts of murder and several lesser charges in the shooting deaths last year of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including several women and children, in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Four Marine officers, including a lieutenant colonel, were charged with trying to cover up the crimes. The charges made the Haditha killings the largest criminal case to arise from the deaths of civilians since U.S. troops entered Iraq in March 2003, and the first to implicate officers in the events.

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