The US Congress is making moves to place all armed contractors operating in combat zones under military control following last month’s shooting of civilians in Iraq.

Private security firm Blackwater killed eight civilians and wounded 13 others when it returned fire while accompanying a convoy carrying US State Department officials in Baghdad.

Following the incident, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice ordered new rules for private guards hired to protect US diplomats, including increased monitoring and explicit rules on when and how they can use deadly force.

Blackwater has since been banned from operating in Iraq by the Iraqi Government.

Blackwater has not commented on the incident.

By staff writer