A US Marine Corps corporal seen in a video singing about killing members of an Iraqi family says the song was a joke and not tied to allegations that marines killed as many as two dozen unarmed civilians in Haditha in November last year.
In a four-minute video called Hadji Girl, a singer who appears to be a marine tells a cheering audience about gunning down members of an Iraqi woman's family after they confront him with automatic weapons.
Corporal Joshua Belile said he had not meant to cause offence. "It's a song I made up and it was supposed to be funny, based on a catchy line of a movie," he said.
"I apologise for any feelings that may have been hurt in the Muslim community.
This is in no way, shape or form related to the events that happened at Haditha. The song was written long before the events happened."
A marine spokesman said the corps was aware of a video that "purports to show a marine singing an insensitive song about Iraqis", and officers were investigating.
Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Fazekas said the song was "inappropriate and contrary to the high standards expected of all marines".
In an interview with a US newspaper, Cpl Belile, 23, said he wrote Hadji Girl in September 2005 while in Iraq. He said his friends enjoyed the song and pushed him on stage with his guitar. Someone filmed the performance and posted it on the internet.
The song tells the story of a marine who falls in love with an Iraqi girl and is taken to meet her family. The girl's family shoots her and attacks the marine, who uses her younger sister as a shield and watches blood spray from her head. He then sings about blowing the father and brother "to eternity".
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that in light of recent allegations of atrocities committed by marines in Iraq, the video should face Pentagon and Congress inquiries.