Iraq bans US security firm accused of civilian killings

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Iraq will not renew the licence of Blackwater Worldwide, a private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians while protecting US diplomats."The operating permission for Blackwater will not be renewed," said Alaa al-Taie of the interior ministry. "The firm is unacceptable. They killed Iraqis with their weapons."

The US embassy confirmed it had been informed, and said it was making new security arrangements. "We are working with the government of Iraq and our contractors to address the implications," said an official.

Blackwater employs hundreds of armed guards with a fleet of armoured vehicles and helicopters to protect US diplomats. The firm boasts that no American official has been killed under its protection. But Iraqis have been furious with the firm since its employees fired on civilian vehicles in traffic in 2007, killing 14 people.