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US judge dismisses Blackwater case

world Updated: Jan 02, 2010 11:25 IST

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Iraq has said it regretted the decision by a US judge to dismiss the charges against five Blackwater security guards who allegedly killed innocent Iraqi civilians in 2007.

"The Iraqi government regrets and is disappointed by the decision," Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government, said in a statement on Friday.

"The investigations conducted by the Iraqi authorities confirm clearly that the Blackwater guards committed murder and violated the rule of using arms under the circumstances of being threatened," Xinhua reported quoting the official.

He added that the Iraqi government would continue its efforts to protect the rights of the victims, their families and others who suffered losses in the incident.

US federal judge Ricardo Urbina Thursday dismissed the charges against five Blackwater security guards, claiming incriminating statements were used by federal prosecutors in the case.

The Iraqi government has said Blackwater, a private security agency hired to protect US State Department personnel in the country, used excessive force on Baghdad streets.

On Sep 16, 2007, Blackwater guards opened fire with automatic weapons and grenade launchers on unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad after a car bomb exploded.

The US government accused the guards of causing the deaths of 14 unarmed civilians and injuring 20 others.

The Blackwater firm, which was not charged in the case, argued the defendants "acted within the rules set forth for them by the government".