Two of the four Marines seen in a video appearing to urinate on the bodies of dead Taliban have been identified, a Marine Corps official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday condemned a video that apparently shows U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan men, footage that the Pentagon acknowledged did not appear to be fake.
The official added that the Marines believed the video was authentic.
The two that were identified are still part of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. That unit served in Afghanistan's Helmand province from March until September of 2011, the official said.
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," Panetta said in a statement, adding that he had ordered the Marine Corps and the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan to investigate the incident.
"Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent," he said.
The video that surfaced a day earlier appeared to show American forces urinating on the bodies of dead bodies. It could aggravate anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan as the Obama administration hopes to end a decade-long invasion.
The video, posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on three corpses. One of them jokes: "Have a nice day, buddy." Another makes a lewd joke.
The video comes at a sensitive moment for the Obama administration, which is about to launch a flurry of diplomatic efforts it hopes will kindle peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
How the video will affect that initiative is unclear.
A senior member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council said it would undermine the peace efforts, but a Taliban spokesman said it was accustomed to such brutality and suggested the video would not affect existing discussions.
The U.S. Marine Corps has said it will investigate. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan described the acts depicted in the video as "disrespectful" and "inexplicable".
Although the U.S. military has stopped short of confirming the video is authentic, the Pentagon on Thursday came close.
"We don't have any indication that it's not authentic," Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby said.
"It certainly appears to us to be what it appears to be to you guys... troops urinating on corpses. But there's an investigation process ongoing. We need to let that work its way through to determine all the facts of the case."
Officials, who are presently in Saudi Arabia, are instructed to return to country
However Mattis appeared satisfied after what he described as an in-depth review of the policy by much of the president's cabinet and top security officials at Camp David on Friday.
Another eight people were wounded in the stabbing spree, which took place on Friday in the southwestern port city of Turku.
A coalition led by President Hashim Thaci's PDK party -- itself in power since 2007 -- topped early parliamentary polls held on June 11, but the alliance did not win the absolute majority needed to govern alone.
According to the Italian media, an extra 50 police carrying portable scanners were on duty to carry out checks on the 10,000 people who were in St Peter's square Sunday for Pope Francis's weekly Angelus prayer.
Barzani says postponement of Kurdish referendum on independence 'unlikely'
The president had flown to South Africa on Wednesday to attend a two-day regional leaders' summit in Pretoria that began Saturday -- which police said she had been expected to attend.
Local media says 3 armed men were reportedly spotted on Paris-Nimes train
Opposition protesters call for change in country's constitution, want term limits
Police said they had cast a dragnet for 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub, who media reports say was the driver of a van that smashed into people on Barcelona's busy Las Ramblas boulevard on Thursday.
In perhaps the worst to date, he dealt a crushing blow to his own embattled administration by saying "both sides" were to blame for the bloodshed in Charlottesville, Virginia following a rally by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
A so-called "free speech" rally by far-right groups had been scheduled to run until 2 pm (1800 GMT), but a half-hour before that police escorted its participants -- whose numbers appeared to be in the dozens -- to safety past a throng of anti-racism protesters.
Comments appearing to trivialize racial hatred have president isolated, even within own party
The accident happened late Friday when around 650 people were celebrating inside the tent in Sankt Johann am Walde in the north of the country.
The Trump administration, wary of international involvements but eager for progress in the grueling Afghan war, has been weighing a range of options. It had originally promised a new plan by mid-July.
Melika Salihbeg Bosnawi, an important poet and intellectual of Bosnia and Herzegovina, died at the age of 72