The U.S. military has launched an investigation after gruesome pictures allegedly showing members of the Marine Corps burning the dead bodies of Iraqi insurgents were provided to the Pentagon by a celebrity news agency last week.
TMZ published some of the “horrifically graphic” photos they obtained Wednesday, but chose not to publish others because they were “too gruesome.” The gossip website did not reveal how they obtained the pictures.
The photos, thought to have been taken in 2004, allegedly show a Marine pouring gasoline on the remains of two insurgents. The next photo shows the bodies on fire. The final photo shows what appear to be burnt remains.
Other photos show dozens of dead bodies, one being eaten by a dog, according to TMZ. Another allegedly shows a member of the Marine Corps posing for the camera next to a body.
Col. Steve Warren, director of press operations at the Department of Defense, said the 41 photos provided to the Pentagon by TMZ are being investigated in a serious matter, but don’t reflect the conduct of the entire military.
“The actions that are depicted in these photos are not in any way representative of the honorable, professional service of the 2 1/2 million service members who went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade,” he told TMZ.
The Guardian confirmed that the military has opened an initial investigation into the photos.
According to TMZ, involved individuals can still be prosecuted, even if they are no longer members of the military.
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