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20 Sep, 2007 01:01

Iraq & U.S. to probe bloody shootout in Baghdad

Iraq and the U.S. will jointly investigate a shooting incident involving a private security company in Iraq. Contractors of Blackwater USA, a firm providing security for U.S. diplomats, opened fire in Baghdad on Sunday when escorting an American convoy.

The number of casualties in the incident differs, as do the versions of what happened.

Blackwater insists its contractors were responding to gunfire from insurgents, and eight Iraqis were killed and thirteen wounded. But local witnesses say they saw Blackwater security guards firing at a crowd of civilians.

Two witnesses reportedly heard an explosion before the gunfire, suggesting a bomb may have prompted the guards to start shooting.

Conflicting reports among Iraqi officials suggest at least eleven civilians were killed and more than 30 were wounded.

The country's Prime-Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said Iraq will not tolerate the killing of its citizens in cold blood and recommended the U.S. find another company to protect its diplomats.

The company's license in Iraq was suspended.