Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ministry's account of the day portrays Blackwater contractors as a band of murderous rogues, who shot without provocation and then just kept shooting:
In the Interior Ministryâs version of that day, the events began unfolding when a bomb exploded shortly before noon near the unfinished Rahman Mosque, about a mile north of Nisour Square. Embassy officials have said the convoy was responding to the bomb, but it is still unclear whether it was carrying officials away from the bomb scene, driving toward it to pick someone up or simply providing support.
Whatever their mission, and whoever was inside, the convoy of at least four sport utility vehicles steered onto the square just after noon and took positions that blocked the flow of midday traffic in three directions. But one familyâs car, approaching from the south along Yarmouk Street, apparently did not stop quickly enough, and the Blackwater guards opened fire, killing the man who was driving, the ministry account says.
âThe woman next to the driver had a baby in her arms,â said an official who shared the report, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to share it. âShe started to scream. They shot her,â the official said, adding that the guards then fired what appeared to be grenades or pump guns into the car as it continued to move. The car caught fire.
âThe car kept rolling, so they burned it,â the official said.