| GEO World|
| U.S. charges 5 Blackwater guards in Iraqi shooting|
| Updated at: 0155 PST, Tuesday, December 09, 2008|
WASHINGTON: Five guards in Iraq with the US security firm Blackwater who were accused of killing 17 Iraqis in 2007 were charged last week, US media reported Saturday.
The charges lodged against them Thursday were not immediately known as prosecutors wanted to delay making them public until Monday, according to several US news sources, which said they might include manslaughter and assault.
But an Iraqi investigation into the case had called the killings premeditated murder.
Separately a sixth guard in the same case was working on a plea deal with prosecutors, the reports said.
Contacted by media Saturday a spokesman for the US Justice Department would neither confirm nor deny the reports.
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater guards shot dead 17 Iraqi civilians and injured some 20 others while escorting an American diplomatic convoy through Baghdad. The firm says its guards were acting in self-defense.
Iraq has said it reserves the right to put on trial the six guards for their alleged role in the killings.