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It looks like Time magazine may have been right that charges will soon be leveled against Camp Pendleton-based Marines in the November shooting death of 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in Haditha.

The North County Times reported today that a military investigation into the incident has concluded and the results are now in the hands of Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, who will recommend whether an unknown number of Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment should face charges.

Sources close to the investigation who spoke to the North County Times on the condition that they not be named said that if charges are filed, it is not likely that the Marines involved in the incident will be charged with premeditated murder. Premeditated murder carries the death penalty as a potential sentence…

Sources familiar with the case said investigators found none of the slain Iraqis were insurgents. The killing scene, they said, covered at least four homes and included members from five families.

The deaths in Haditha occurred after a Marine from Kilo Company was killed by a roadside bomb.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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