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Private security contractor Blackwater opened fire in standoff with Iraq forces, paper to report
Published: Saturday May 26, 2007
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"Employees of Blackwater USA, a private security firm under contract to the State Department, opened fire on the streets of Baghdad twice in two days last week, and one of the incidents provoked an armed standoff between the security contractors and Iraqi forces, U.S. and Iraqi officials said," the Washington Post will report on Sunday page ones, according to an advance copy of the article acquired by RAW STORY. Excerpts:


A Blackwater guard shot and killed an Iraqi driver Thursday near the Interior Ministry, according to three U.S. officials and one Iraqi official who were briefed on the incident but spoke on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation. On Wednesday, a Blackwater-protected convoy was ambushed in Baghdad, triggering a furious battle in which the security contractors, U.S. and Iraqi troops and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were firing in a congested downtown area.

Blackwater confirmed on Thursday that its employees were involved in two shootings but said there were no casualties in either incident, according to a company official who declined to be identified because of the firm's policy of not addressing incidents publicly. The official said Saturday that the Thursday incident did not occur.

Blackwater's security consulting division holds at least $109 million worth of State Department contracts in Iraq, and its employees operate in a perilous environment that sometimes requires the use of deadly force. Matthew Degn, a senior American civilian adviser to the Interior Ministry's intelligence directorate, described the ministry as "a powder keg" after the Iraqi driver was shot Thursday...