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Middle east

US says shot soldiers were wounded, not killed

©

Latest update : 2009-02-24

Sources at the US military and Iraqi interior ministry said on Tuesday that the four soldiers reported as shot dead by Iraqi police on Monday were in fact injured and their Iraqi interpreter killed.

AFP - At least three US soldiers were wounded and a local interpreter killed in a shooting involving Iraqi police in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, the US military and Iraq's interior ministry said.

"Several soldiers were injured in the attack. However none were killed," US Colonel Bill Buckner told AFP, amid conflicting reports on the shootings.

Earlier, an Iraqi interior ministry official said two policemen shot dead four US soldiers and their local interpreter at a police station in central Mosul. The assailants were known policemen from local tribes, he added.

The US military confirmed only the death of an interpreter.

"At approximately 2 pm (11 GMT) today there was a small arms attack on an IP (Iraqi police) station in Mosul. Coalition forces and Iraqi police were conducting a meeting at the time of the attack," a statement said.

"Initial reports indicate one Iraqi interpreter was killed in the attack. More information will be released as it becomes available."

In Washington, the defence department said four US soldiers were wounded. "The four soldiers were wounded not killed," Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Ryder told AFP.

The interior ministry official, declining to be named, had told AFP: "Four US soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter were killed by two Iraqi policemen who opened fire at them in the Dawasa district of (central) Mosul and then fled."

The shootings took place during a US army visit to the Mosul headquarters of the Iraqi police in charge of protecting the city's bridges and tunnels, local police said.

The bullet-riddled body of the interpreter was taken to the local mortuary.

In its report from Iraq, the US military also said there were no American deaths and that three soldiers were hospitalised.

"Three US soldiers were injured in the attack at an Iraqi police station in Nineveh province along with an interpreter. A second interpreter was killed during the attack," it said.

"An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause and nature of the attack. This is an initial report."

Mosul, one of the country's most restive cities, has been the scene of two previous such incidents involving American soldiers and Iraqi security forces in just over a year.

On November 12, an Iraqi soldier shot dead two US soldiers before being shot dead himself. A similar incident took place in January 2007, when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on American troops, killing two US soldiers.

US and Iraqi forces operate together throughout the country. The United States has long said the training of Iraqi troops and police is a central part of its military strategy.

 

Date created : 2009-02-24

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