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March Today in Terrorism

March 31, 2004: Murders of US mercenaries in Iraq

On this day in 2004 four members of Blackwater were ambushed and killed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah and subsequently hanged.

FALLUJAH, IRAQ – Mercenaries rarely have a good reputation: sometimes they come to a gruesome end.

OK, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘mercenary‘? I’d bet that it is not something positive! Mercenaries, sometimes called ‘guns for hire‘, are usually seen as those willing to contribute to human misery, often through the pursuit of war, for money.

Not a great image.

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Oh Jack, your lifestyle choices were not the best! (Photo: Disney)

Several nations have spawned mercenary groups which participated in conflicts over the centuries. There are even a few still with us today, one of the most (in)famous of which is Blackwater. The firm dates back to 1997 and ended up being used to guard officials, security guards, and military installations, train the Iraqi army and police forces, and provide other support for the US Armed Forces.

They were also killed in terrorist attacks.

On this day in 2004

Four members were ambushed and killed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah: an enraged mob then jubilantly dragged the burned bodies through the streets and hanged at least two corpses from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

Falluja is the graveyard of Americans!

Mob Chant

The killers were never properly identified. In all seriousness, the Americans had made enough enemies by that point in their ‘occupation‘ of Iraq to spread the blame – and responsibility – around. It is somewhat ironic – but still sad – that they met such a demise.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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