Security contractor Blackwater USA was involved in two shootings in Baghdad last week. After firing on and killing an Iraqi driver, Blackwater guards found themselves in a standoff with heavily armed Iraqi Interior Ministry forces. A senior U.S. adviser said Iraq-American relations at the ministry have suffered greatly since the incident.
Employees of Blackwater USA, a private security firm under contract to the State Department, opened fire on the streets of Baghdad twice in two days last week, and one of the incidents provoked a standoff between the security contractors and Iraqi forces, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.
A Blackwater guard shot and killed an Iraqi driver Thursday near the Interior Ministry, according to three U.S. officials and one Iraqi official who were briefed on the incident but spoke on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation. On Wednesday, a Blackwater-protected convoy was ambushed in downtown Baghdad, triggering a furious battle in which the security contractors, U.S. and Iraqi troops and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were firing in a congested area.
Blackwater confirmed that its employees were involved in two shootings but could neither confirm nor deny that there had been any casualties, according to a company official who declined to be identified because of the firm’s policy of not addressing incidents publicly.