Tensions are so high in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of 11 Iraqis by a private American security operation that the US has barred civilian officials from road travel outside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone for their own safety. The Iraqis were killed when contractors with security outfit Blackwater opened fire after mortar rounds landed near their convoy in Baghdad Sunday. Men involved in the shootings could be prosecuted.
An Iraqi spokesman called the shootings a "flagrant assault against Iraqi citizens." Iraqi officials are reviewing the status of all private US and European security companies. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the incident with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by telephone. "We are as interested as the Iraqi government in having a transparent investigation into what happened," she said.