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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi PM Says Killing of Citizens in 'Cold Blood' Will Not Be Tolerated

19 September 2007

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the activities of Blackwater USA have been halted while the government investigates a deadly shooting by the security firm on Sunday.

Mr. Maliki said Wednesday his country will not tolerate the killing of its citizens in "cold blood." He said the shooting is the seventh incident of its kind involving Blackwater, which provides security for U.S. government civilian employees in Iraq.

Iraqi officials say at least 11 people were killed after Blackwater personnel fired in a busy area in Baghdad. The North Carolina-based firm says the convoy its employees were protecting came under attack and that its personnel acted "lawfully and appropriately."

The United States has barred U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials from traveling by land outside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Iraq's Interior Ministry has withdrawn the license of Blackwater.

The government said Tuesday it will review the operations of all security companies working in the country.

The New York Times newspaper reports today that a preliminary Interior Ministry investigation found Blackwater guards fired at a car that did not heed a policeman's call to stop, killing a couple and their infant.

In other news, the U.S. military says an American soldier was killed in a small arms fire attack Tuesday in southern Baghdad.

The military says coalition forces killed one Iraqi terrorist linked to Iran's elite Quds force and detained seven suspects during a pre-dawn operation today in Balad Ruz and northern Baghdad. It also says Iraqi forces, with U.S. special forces as advisers, killed an al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist and detained 18 others in raids Monday and Tuesday in northern Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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