Thursday, September 20, 2007
(RFE/RL) - Ali al-Dabbagh announced on September 19 that a join Iraqi-U.S. committee has been formed to investigate the September 16 killing of 10 Iraqi civilians by contractors working for the U.S.-based security firm Blackwater USA, Iraqi media reported. On September 19, the United States banned diplomats and civilians from leaving Baghdad's Green Zone due to a lack of protection forces. The Iraqi government announced on September 18 that it has revoked Blackwater's license. Adil Barwari, a member of the Council of Representatives' Security and Defense Committee, told state-run Al-Iraqiyah television on September 18 that the committee should seek legal action against the contractors should the investigation warrant prosecution.
Meanwhile, Major General Abd al-Karim Khalaf, the director of the National Command Center at the Interior Ministry, said on September 18 that a preliminary report showed that Blackwater security guards were not ambushed, as they claimed, but rather fired on a car that did not heed a policeman's call to stop, resulting in the death of a couple and their infant, international media reported. He added that the ministry's investigation into the incident includes eyewitness testimonies, including the testimonies of people wounded in the incident.