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Blackwater ‘machine-gunned Iraqis as they tried to surrender’
December 9, 2008
Private security guards fired machine guns at innocent, surrendering Iraqis and launched a grenade into a girls’ school, US prosecutors said yesterday.
Manslaughter charges were announced against five guards with Blackwater Worldwide.
A sixth guard for the US contractor admitted in a plea deal to killing at least one Iraqi in the 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. Seventeen Iraqis were killed.
The five guards surrendered yesterday and were due to ask a federal judge for bail.
“The tragic events in Nisoor Square were shocking and a violation of basic human rights,” said the FBI assistant director, Joseph Persichini.
In addition to being charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, the five guards face 20 counts of attempted manslaughter.
The shooting unfolded in the crowded square, where prosecutors say civilians were going about their lives.
The guards tried to shut the intersection after a car bombing elsewhere in the city.
Witnesses said the guards opened fire unprovoked. Women and children were among the victims, and the shooting left the square littered with wrecked cars.
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