Iraq contractors blamed for shootings

Sept. 10, 2005 at 10:54 AM
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BAGHDAD, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Private security contractors in Iraq are being blamed for killing innocent Iraqis and inciting violence against U.S. troops, The Washington Post reports.

The deputy commander of the U.S. Army's third Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Karl Horst, said the issue is rampant in Iraq, leaving innocents dead and, usually, the Army to blame.

Horst said there is no authority regulating the contractors actions so there's no way to punish any abuse of power.

He said he's kept an unofficial list of incidents this summer when allegations of shooting innocents people escalated.

Horst recorded 12 shootings between May and July that took the lives of six Iraqis and injured three.

On May 12 a contractor allegedly shot at a car, which then ran into a crowd.

A roadside bomb blew up U.S. soldiers two days later on the same block.

Ali Ismael is adamant that it was a security contractor who fired on him July 14 while he was in a car behind a convoy of four Chevrolet Suburbans.

The 20-year-old from Irbil, Iraq, said the bald patch and scar are proof of contractor vigilantes, a claim backed by witnesses of the incident.

A U.S. investigation exonerated security contractors.

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