(AFP) – Sep 19, 2007
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday called on the US authorities to replace private security operator Blackwater after a deadly shootout involving the firm's guards in Baghdad.
"This crime has generated a lot of hatred in the government and the people against Blackwater," Maliki told reporters.
"For their own interests, the Americans should hire a new company to protect their people so they can move freely."
The US embassy in Baghdad has barred its officials from travelling by land outside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone amid fears of attacks after Sunday's incident in which Blackwater guards escorting US personnel opened fire in a Baghdad neighbourhood, killing 10 people and wounding 13.
Iraqi and US officials have also set up a joint panel in a bid to defuse the crisis.
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