The Iraqi government will file criminal charges against employees of U.S. security firm Blackwater who are blamed for a gun battle in Baghdad in which civilians were killed, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Sunday.

It is unclear how Iraqi courts will attempt to bring the contractors to trial. A July report from the Congressional Research Service said the Iraqi government has no authority over private security firms contracted by the U.S. government.

The Iraqi government claims that as many as 20 civilians were killed by the private contractors, who were guarding a U.S. diplomatic convoy.

Iraqi officials, who claim the shootings were unprovoked, dispute the U.S. claim that the guards were responding to an attack and said on Saturday they had a videotape that showed the Blackwater guards opened fire without provocation.

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