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Iraq Drafts Law to Control Private Security Firms


Iraq's government says it is preparing a new law to control the operations of private security companies, after a deadly shooting incident involving the security firm Blackwater USA.

A spokesman for Iraq's Interior Ministry, Abdul Karim Khalaf, said Tuesday a draft law has been submitted to a state (Shura) council for vetting, and soon will be presented to parliament. He said the law will cover all activities of security firms, ending the immunity granted to them by a 2004 regulation put in place while Iraq was under U.S. administration.

Iraqi officials have accused Blackwater security guards of opening fire and killing at least 11 Iraqi civilians on a Baghdad street September 16. The company says its guards were responding to an attack on an American diplomatic convoy

In other news, two car bombs exploded Tuesday in eastern Baghdad, killing six people and wounding more than 20. The blasts happened near a group of pensioners who had gathered outside a bank.

In the mainly Shi'ite southern city of Basra, a suicide car bomber struck a police station, killing at least three people. Basra's police chief blamed the attack on Sunni Islamist al-Qaida terrorists.

The U.S. military said a bomb blast killed a soldier Tuesday in Diyala province, east of Baghdad

Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed five suspected terrorists and detained 22 others in operations targeting al-Qaida in central and northern Iraq.

In the northern city of Baquba, police say the death toll from Monday's suicide bombing at a Shi'ite and Sunni reconciliation meeting has risen to 28.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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