WASHINGTON (CNN) — Newsweek magazine backed away Sunday from a report that U.S. interrogators desecrated copies of the Quran while questioning prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base — an account blamed for sparking violent riots in Afghanistan and elsewhere. At least 15 people were killed and dozens injured last week when thousands of demonstrators marched in Afghanistan and other parts of the Muslim world, officials and eyewitnesses said. “We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst,” Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine’s May 23 issue, out Sunday.
In an article assessing its coverage, the magazine wrote, “How did Newsweek get its facts wrong? And how did the story feed into serious international unrest?” The Pentagon said last week it was unable to corroborate any case in which interrogators at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defiled the Muslim holy book, as Newsweek reported in its May 9 issue. “Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we,” Whitaker said.