The Pentagon is investigating grisly photos that appear to show U.S. Marines burning the corpses of insurgents in Fallujah in 2004, around the time of fierce fighting in the the key Iraqi city.
The pictures, obtained and published online by the gossip news site TMZ, were allegedly shot in Fallujah in 2004. TMZ claims to have acquired 41 pictures, but published only eight. Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan said the corps is probing the matter.
“We are currently investigating the veracity of the photos, circumstances involved, and if possible, the identities of the service members involved."
- Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan
“We are currently investigating the veracity of the photos, circumstances involved, and if possible, the identities of the service members involved. The findings from this investigation will determine whether we are able to move forward with any investigation into possible wrongdoing."
Some of the photos that were released show an unidentified Marine, his face blurred digitally, pouring gasoline on the dead bodies of slain Iraqi insurgents, while another shows a Marine posing next to a charred skull.
If authentic, the photos show service members violating the military code that requires them to handle the remains of fallen Muslim insurgents in strict accordance with Islamic custom.
It was not clear if the faces of the Marine or Marines in the photos were blurred before or after TMZ received them.
Fallujah was the site of fierce fighting in 2004, with nearly 100 U.S. military personnel killed as the Iraqi city was seized from insurgents.
Earlier this month, Fallujah fell back into the hands of insurgents with the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic States of Iraq and Levant.
Fox News' Justin Fishel contributed to this report