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Military Says U.S. Contractors Slain; Grisly Attack Described

THE WORLD

October 23, 2005|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military said Saturday that four American contractors were slain in Iraq last month, as a British newspaper published a chilling account of the attack.

A military spokesman said the Sept. 20 incident occurred when insurgents fired on a convoy in Duluiya, north of Baghdad. No reason was given why details were not released before.

The victims were Americans employed by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp. KBR said Saturday that it previously had confirmed that three of its employees died in the attack; the discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled.

Britain's Daily Telegraph, quoting a U.S. officer in the area who had spoken to soldiers in the incident, said at least two men were dragged from their vehicle onto the road, forced to kneel and then killed.

"Killing one of the men with a rifle round fired into the back of his head, they doused the other with [gas] and set him alight," the paper said. "Barefoot children, yelping in delight, piled straw onto the screaming man's body to stoke the flames."

A KBR spokesperson would not corroborate the paper's account and said the firm did not give details of such incidents.

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