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Opening statements set in Iraq war crime trial

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A jury of combat Marines who all served in Iraq will hear opening statements in the trial of the last defendant of a major Iraq war crime case.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich (WOO'-tur-ich) is standing trial today more than six years after he led a Marine squad that killed 24 Iraqis, including unarmed women and children, in the town of Haditha.

The court martial is taking place at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, and is scheduled to last a month.

Wuterich has said he regretted the loss of civilian lives but believed he was operating - after a roadside bomb exploded - within military combat rules.

The 2005 killings are considered among the war's defining moments.

Wuterich has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, among other charges.


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