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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Iraq's Cabinet Approves Lifting Immunity for Security Firms

By VOA News
30 October 2007

An Iraqi government spokesman says Iraq's Cabinet has approved draft legislation that lifts immunity from prosecution for private security firms in Iraq.

The spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Tuesday the measure will subject all security companies to Iraqi law and revoke the immunity given to foreign security contractors by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004.

He says the legislation will be sent to the parliament for ratification.

Blackwater USA security guards are accused of shooting and killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad last month. The security firm says the Iraqis were killed when guards responded lawfully to an attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy.

In other news, Iraq's parliament filled two of the six ministerial posts vacated earlier this year by ministers loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The ministers had quit to protest the government's refusal to set a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Parliament today approved the appointment of Saleh al-Hasnawi as health minister and Ali al-Bahadeli as agriculture minister.

In other news, Iranian state media quote Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as rejecting U.S. accusations that Iran is responsible for the deaths of American forces in Iraq. He accused the U.S. government of lying about Iranian involvement in Iraq.

The U.S. has accused Iran of supplying weapons and training to militias fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

Iranian media say Mottaki is to visit Baghdad on Wednesday for talks with Iraqi officials on bilateral issues.

Also, the U.S. military says three American soldiers were killed today when their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb southeast of Baghdad.

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



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