Thursday, March 31, 2011
On March 31, 2004 an ambush saw Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah attack a convoy containing four United States contractors from the private security company Blackwater USA, who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS.
The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Mike Teague, were killed, dragged from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hanged over a bridge crossing the Euphrates.
Photos of the event were released to news agencies worldwide, causing a great deal of indignation in the United States, and prompting the announcement of a counter-insurgency campaign in the city.
This led to a US operation to occupy the city in the First Battle of Fallujah that was halted at midpoint for political reasons, and a later successful attempt seven months later in the Second Battle of Fallujah.
The families of the victims filed suit (Helvenston et al. v. Blackwater Security) against Blackwater USA for wrongful death in January 2005.
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