U.S. to unveil charges in Blackwater shooting in Iraq

8/12/2008 - 15:44

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI will hold a news conference on Monday to announce criminal charges against five Blackwater security guards over a shooting in Iraq last year that killed 17 civilians, legal sources said.

The department said Assistant Attorney General Patrick Rowan, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor from Washington, D.C., and Joseph Persichini, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, will hold a news conference at 12 p.m. EST (5 p.m. GMT) on a "significant investigation."

The legal sources said the news conference would be to announce the charges against the guards, who are expected to surrender to authorities this morning in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The shooting by the private security firm's guards as they escorted a convoy of U.S. diplomats through Baghdad on September 16, 2007, ignited a deep outcry in Iraq and led U.S. officials to tighten controls on guards and contractors to tone down their tactics.

(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Kristin Roberts)

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