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A federal appeals court on Friday reopened the criminal case against four former American military contractors accused of manslaughter in connection with a shooting that killed at least 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.
The shootings, in the middle of traffic in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, left at least 17 Iraqi civilians dead and set off an anti-American political firestorm in Iraq and an international debate over the role of private security contractors in modern war zones. The Blackwater guards were accused of firing wildly and indiscriminately from their convoy into other cars and at Iraqi civilians. The guards defended their actions, saying they were responding to fire from insurgents.
After the shooting, Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services, and then late last year the company’s founder, Erik Prince, sold the business. He has left the United States and moved his family to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.