BAGHDAD — Iraq’s Interior Ministry canceled the license of controversial American security firm Blackwater USA today after Iraqi officials charged that eight civilians were shot by company bodyguards accompanying a U.S. State Department motorcade the day before in Baghdad.
“It has been revoked,” said Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, a spokesman for the ministry. “They committed a crime. The judicial system will take action.”
The decision marks Iraq’s boldest step yet to assert itself against foreign security contractors, who arrived in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Blackwater has become the symbol of foreign gunmen accused by many Iraqis of speeding through Baghdad’s streets and shooting wildly at anyone seen as a threat.
Khalaf said eight people were killed and 13 wounded when a convoy came speeding by Nisoor Square at the edge of the Mansour district of west Baghdad. Two Iraqi witnesses said no one had attacked the convoy. [via the LOS ANGELES TIMES]
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