Iraq gives hundreds of former and current Blackwater employees 7 days to leave country

By Qassim Abdul-zahra, AP
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Iraq orders former Blackwater guards out

BAGHDAD — Iraq has ordered about 250 former and current employees of Blackwater Worldwide to leave the country within seven days or face having their visas pulled.

The order comes in the wake of a U.S. judge dismissing criminal charges against five Blackwater guards who were accused in the September 2007 shooting deaths of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad.

The shooting inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said on Wednesday the order targets security contractors who worked for Blackwater at the time of the shootout. He said all “concerned parties” were notified of the order three days ago.

Blackwater, which at the time protected U.S. diplomats in Iraq, is now known as Xe Services.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Attackers bombed a frequently targeted oil pipeline north of Baghdad, slowing production at a refinery in the capital by half, Iraq’s oil ministry said Wednesday.

There were no injuries in Tuesday night’s bombing in Rashidiya, just north of Baghdad.

The capacity at Baghdad’s Dora refinery was cut from around 140,000 barrels per day to 70,000 following the attack, said Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad. The Dora refinery produces about ten oil products, ranging from kerosene to plane fuel and diesel.

The pipeline runs from oil fields in northern Kirkuk province to Baghdad. It has been the target of attacks for years, and has been bombed multiple times since 2004.

Jihad said technical crews were repairing the pipeline on Wednesday but it was unclear when it could be fixed.

Iraq produces about 2.48 million barrels of oil per day.

Also Wednesday, a roadside bomb killed two policemen and wounded four west of Baghdad, police said.

will not be displayed