The U.S. Marine Corps has launched a formal investigation after being sent photos of Marines allegedly defiling bodies of what appear to be dead Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004.
The 41 photos were obtained by the Entertainment news website TMZ, which notified the Defense Department about them last week. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that they appear to show U.S. service members
, according to Stars and Stripes.
TMZ said the photos were too gruesome to publish. Some show U.S. Marines allegedly burning corpses. Mishandling human remains could be a violation of the military laws that govern conduct in a war zone.
"On the burning, you know, it's hard to tell [whether it's a violation]," Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told Stars and Stripes. "While we don't routinely burn human remains, there are circumstances when that might be necessary for hygiene, health — things like that."
Depending on the findings of the investigation, the photos could prompt controversy similar to the incident in Jan. 2012 when a YouTube video emerged showing Marines urinating on the corpses
of militants in Afghanistan.
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