Friday, September 28, 2007

Blackwater probe expands to 5 deadly incidents

WASHINGTON - The United States and Iraq are focusing on five incidents where Blackwater USA guards killed civilians in Iraq this year as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered a high-level review board to Baghdad, U.S. officials said.

The United States has not made conclusive findings about the five incidents, including the Sept. 16 deaths of at least 11 Iraqis, and a State Department official said Friday that investigators are not aware of any others.

The five, plus another incident that apparently didn't result in any killings, were previously identified by Iraqi authorities. For now, those incidents are at the core of the review ordered by Rice last week, a State Department official said.

Separately, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has sent a fact-finding team of his own to Baghdad to investigate conditions involving private contractors working for the Pentagon and to consult with military officers there...

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