British military police have arrested seven members of the elite Royal Marines on suspicion of murder in Afghanistan in 2011, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced. A spokesman says the marines were arrested in connection with an incident involving "engagement with an insurgent," and no civilians were involved.
The investigation will now be conducted by the Service Justice system, which handles offences committed by British service personnel overseas. The department said it would not be releasing any more information about the arrests, but vowed to conduct an internal review "to identify lessons learned".
The Royal Marines, or "green berets", were formed in 1755 as marine infantry for the Royal Navy and have a reputation as some of the toughest military professionals in the world.
Britain still has more than 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, all of whom are due to leave by the end of 2014.
About 430 British personnel have been killed in the country since the start of the operation against the Taliban in 2001.
Prosecutors in April decided not to charge a British soldier with the murder of an Afghan man who had been digging near a military base in Helmand.
Duane Knott, a member of the Territorial Army volunteer reserve force, was investigated after shooting the man who he mistakenly believed was laying booby-trap explosives.
The Service Prosecuting Authority, set up to conduct independent prosecutions of military personnel, concluded there was no "realistic prospect of a conviction in this case".