(CBS/AP) Iraqi authorities have detained five U.S. citizens in connection with the death of an American contractor in Baghdad, officials said Sunday, in what could be the first case of Americans facing local justice under a joint security pact that took effect this year.
Interior Ministry official Maj. Gen. Hussein Ali Kamal says the detained Americans are from the same company as the slain contractor but declined to give more details because the investigation is ongoing.
A local police source told CBS News that the FBI is very involved in the case.
U.S. Embassy spokesman James Fennell confirmed that five Americans are in Iraqi custody but said no formal charges have been filed so he couldn't provide further details about the detention.
It was an unprecedented slaying in the sprawling district and occurred at a time when blast walls are coming down and Iraqi forces are assuming greater control of their own security.
Embassy officials have visited the men to make sure they're being given their rights in accordance with Iraqi law, Fennell said, adding "the men appeared well."
Although Americans and others have been killed in rocket or mortar attacks in the Green Zone, Kitterman was believed to be the first American ever assassinated there since the protected area was established after the city fell to U.S. forces in April 2003.
Iraq assumed control of the Green Zone on Jan. 1 under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, taking primary responsibility from the Americans for searching vehicles and checking identity papers as entry checkpoints.
The Iraqis have begun removing some of the protective blast falls around the Green Zone - part of a campaign to restore a sense of normalcy as violence in the city has waned.
Violence, however, continues.
A rocket or mortar slammed into the Green Zone Sunday morning but no casualties were reported, according to the U.S. military.
The attack came just over two weeks after American was killed when a rocket struck the sprawling area that houses the U.S. Embassy and much of the Iraqi government.
Two U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq Are Returned Home
Army Spc. Christopher M. Kurth, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M., died Thursday in Kirkuk of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade. Kurth was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)(Left: An Army carry team member stands next to the transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Spc. Charles Parrish, 23, of Jasper, Ala., left, and U.S. Army Spc. Christopher M. Kurth, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M., right, during a dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Saturday, June 6, 2009.)
The rocket-propelled grenade attack came just about a month shy of Parrish's expected return from Iraq next month, his mother said.
The Department of Defense has not released an official account of the circumstances of Parrish's death.
Rigsby said her son was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and had recently reenlisted. She said he had been in Iraq 14 months and was to be stationed in Columbus, Ga., after his
expected return from Iraq on July 15.
His homecoming was eagerly anticipated by his wife, Ashley, and his 4-year-old son Caden, Rigsby said.
An army medic, Parrish trained many of the medics who assisted in his surgery after the attack, his mother said.
"They said he gave a good fight," she said.
On Friday afternoon, the family was still struggling with how to tell 4-year-old Caden his dad wouldn't be coming home.
"I hate that we have to tell his son," Rigsby said.