The U.S. military says four Marines will face murder charges for the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha last year.
If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison. Four other Marines are charged with dereliction, false reporting and obstructing justice. Marine Corps Colonel Stewart Navarre says the Marines were charged following a thorough investigation.
They are accused of killing the civilians shortly after a member of their squad was killed by a roadside bomb in November 2005. The dead include women and children. Defense lawyers say the civilians were killed in a firefight between the Marines and Iraqi insurgents.
Marine officials initially attributed 15 civilian deaths to the bombing and ensuing gunbattle with insurgents.