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U.S. Says Airstrike Kills 13 Insurgents

Shamari said he was not in a position to dispute the allegations, but said the military should have gone through proper channels before making the arrest.

Two deadly incidents involving American private security companies were disclosed Thursday.

Snipers working for one company fatally shot three guards working at the state-run al-Iraqiya television station in Baghdad on Wednesday morning, the director of the station's parent company said in an interview.

The security contractors were accompanying foreign dignitaries who were visiting the Justice Ministry, which is across the street from the station's headquarters, said Habib al-Sadr of the Iraqi Media Network.

Sadr said the three slain guards, Azhar Abdullah Ali, Nibras Muhammad Dawood and Sabah Salman Hassoon, were all in their early 20s. "Not a single bullet was shot toward the ministry building," he said.

The Iraqi guards "had full control of themselves not to attack back. I gave orders, personally gave orders, not to shoot back so that things didn't get worse and we didn't lose more men."

Lou Fintor, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, said the incident was under investigation.

It was unclear what company the contractors worked for and whether they were escorting U.S. diplomats.

Also Thursday, defense contractor KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg Brown and Root, said U.S. military personnel fatally shot a KBR truck driver and wounded another employee near a checkpoint outside a military facility in Balad, north of Baghdad.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the truck driver who was killed," Halliburton spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said in an e-mail. "The wounded truck driver was transported to the Air Force Theater Hospital and has since been treated and released."

Another KBR employee, Hector Patiño, 58, was killed Jan. 13 in the Green Zone in Baghdad in another apparent friendly-fire incident.

Norcross said she could not release the names of the employees shot Wednesday. The U.S. military in Baghdad did not respond to an e-mail inquiry about the incident.

Fintor, the embassy spokesman, said the death was under investigation.

KBR has lost 98 employees to "hostile action" in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, Norcross said.

Also Thursday, the military disclosed the deaths of four Marines killed in two incidents in Anbar province in western Iraq.

In Balad, a police official said armed men dressed in Iraqi military uniforms attacked a farmhouse northeast of the city early Thursday, killing 16 members of a Sunni family and wounding two. The home belonged to Amar Fadhil Rufaie, said Capt. Hassan al-Rufaie.

A neighbor, Amad Rufaie, said 12 cars entered the farm area and heavy gunfire ensued. When he went to see what had happened, he found 18 people on the ground, all but two of them dead. Many people in the area belong to the Rufaie tribe.

Correspondent Joshua Partlow and special correspondents Saad al-Izzi, Naseer Nouri and Waleed Saffar contributed to this report.


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