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Contractor Shooting in Baghdad Takes Two Lives

Iraqi officials say there has been another shooting involving private security guards in Baghdad, this time killing two people. Dubai-based security firm Unity Resources Group issued a statement saying its guards were involved in the incident. VOA's Jim Randle reports, the incident occurred the same day Iraq's government said the U.S.- based Blackwater security contractor should pay millions of dollars in compensation to people killed in a shooting incident last month.

Security contractors were escorting a four-vehicle civilian convoy through the Karrada district of Baghdad Tuesday when the latest shooting broke out. Two women died in a car near the convoy.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad says there was no embassy connection to the shooting.

Earlier, Iraq said Blackwater, which provides security for U.S. diplomats, should pay $136 million in compensation for civilians killed in a shooting by the company's guards on September 16. An Iraqi government investigation into the Baghdad incident charges that Blackwater security guards killed 17 people. Blackwater says its guards fired back when they were attacked.

Several other investigations of the incident by Iraqi and U.S. officials are underway, and Iraq's government is demanding the United States cut ties to Blackwater.

Meanwhile, some Iraqis are applauding London's plan to send half of Britain's 5,000-member military force home in the next six months.

Abdul-Hussein Lazim in Basra, says he hopes to see all British troops, along with any other forces, leaving Iraq for good.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the withdrawal plan Monday. Most British troops are at an air base on the fringe of the southern city of Basra.