Iraq will take legal action to ensure justice for the families of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians killed in a U.S. raid in Haditha seven years ago, a government spokesman said Thursday, after the lone U.S. Marine convicted in the killings reached a deal to escape jail time.
Residents in Haditha, a former Sunni insurgent stronghold of about 85,000 people along the Euphrates River valley some 140 miles (220 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, have expressed outrage at the American military justice system for allowing Staff Sgt. Frank Wultrich to avoid prison.
"The Haditha incident was a big crime against innocent civilians," said Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi government. "We will follow up all legal procedures and judiciary measures" to seek justice in the case, he added.
Al-Moussawi did not offer specifics and the Iraqi Justice Ministry declined to comment.