Iraq said Thursday it will bar Blackwater Worldwide from providing security protection for U.S. diplomats because its contractors used excessive force, sanctioning a company whose image was irrevocably tarnished by the 2007 killings of 17 Iraqi civilians.
The move will deprive American diplomats of their main protection force in Iraq.
The decision not to issue Blackwater an operating license was due to "improper conduct and excessive use of force," said Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf.
Iraqis are bitter over the September 2007 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. Five former Blackwater guards pleaded not guilty Jan. 6 in federal court in Washington to manslaughter and gun charges in that shooting. A sixth is cooperating with the government.
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