LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – An official Iraqi investigation into a deadly shooting involving Blackwater USA security guards concluded 17 Iraqis were killed and found the gunfire was unwarranted, the government said Sunday. It also said the shootings amounted to a deliberate crime and recommended those involved face trial.
The Blackwater guards are accused of opening fire on Iraqi civilians in a main square in Baghdad on Sept. 16. They claimed they came under fire first.
The Iraqi investigative committee, which was ordered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, found that convoys from the Moyock, N.C.-based security company did not come under direct or indirect fire before the men shot up the intersection.
“It was not hit even by a stone,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.
The incident has outraged Iraqis and brought calls for the rules governing those protecting American diplomats to be overhauled.
The three-member Iraqi panel led by Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi put the casualty toll at 17 killed and 23 wounded, giving a higher number than other estimates. It determined that Blackwater guards sprayed western Baghdad’s