PHOTOGRAPHS taken by American military intelligence have provided crucial evidence that up to 24 Iraqis were massacred by marines in Haditha, an insurgent stronghold on the banks of the Euphrates.
One portrays an Iraqi mother and young child, kneeling on the floor, as if in prayer. They have been shot dead at close range.
The pictures show other victims, shot execution-style in the head and chest in their homes. An American government official said they revealed that the marines involved had “suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership”.
The killings are emerging as the worst known American atrocity of the Iraq war. At least seven women and three children were among those killed. Witness accounts obtained by The Sunday Times suggest the toll of children may be as high as six. “This one is ugly,” a US military official said.