Four mercenaries from the Blackwater corporation, all U.S. civilian contractors, are killed in a grenade attack on their vehicle by guerrillas in Fallujah, Iraq. After the attack, a violent mob moves in to pull out and mutilate the charred bodies. Two are hung from a bridge over the Euphrates.
The deaths of the four mercenaries, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Mike Teagu, and their treatment by the mob leads to the First Battle of Fallujah in order to take control of the city and suppress a growing insurgency. The reasons why the mercenaries were even in Fallujahin the first place remains a matter of some debate and speculation.