US military: 11 killed in Mosul raid

BAGHDAD - October 5, 2008 - Elsewhere in the northern city, gunmen opened fire on mourners in a funeral tent, killing four people and wounding three others, according to Iraqi officials.

Violence has declined drastically throughout Iraq, but Mosul remains a major security challenge despite recent U.S.-Iraqi military operations aimed at routing al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents from the city.

In a boost to peace efforts, the first Egyptian foreign minister to visit Iraq in nearly two decades arrived in Baghdad and promised to help Iraq face its challenges.

"We reject sectarianism, extremism, violence," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said. "And we hope that peace and security will prevail in Iraq."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari welcomed plans to open a new Egyptian Embassy soon in Baghdad. Cairo currently has several diplomats based in the U.S.-protected Green Zone.

The high-level visit reflected decreasing tension between Iraq's Shiite-led government and mainly Sunni Arab countries in the region.

In the Mosul raid, American troops came under heavy gunfire after entering a house believed to be holding a suspected insurgent, and a man inside detonated a suicide vest, the military said in a statement.

Five "terrorists" as well as three women and three children were killed, according to the statement. It did not specify how the people died.

Two other children, including one who was injured, were found near the building and moved to safety, the military said. A weapons cache was later found inside.

"This is just another tragic example of how al-Qaida in Iraq hides behind innocent Iraqis," U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll said.

Iraqi police officials in Mosul, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said the 11 people killed were all family members, including a 7-year-old boy.

Hours later, the funeral tent was struck in the restive Zanjili neighborhood.

Four Iraqi employees of a television station were kidnapped and killed in the area last month.

In other violence, a bomb targeted a convoy carrying Western contractors in the southern city of Basra, officials said. One Iraqi was wounded, but no one in the convoy was harmed.

The attack occurred as the contractors headed to a new children's hospital to inspect work on the building, said Maj. Bill Young, a spokesman for the British military in Iraq.

He said there were three civilian cars with workers from a Western construction company. No members of the British military were present.

An Iraqi police official in Basra said one Iraqi civilian was wounded. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Also Sunday, the U.S. military raised the number of people injured in a helicopter crash in Baghdad the previous night from four to five. It said three were Americans.

Two U.S. helicopters collided while landing at a base in Baghdad late Saturday. One Iraqi soldier was killed.

The U.S. military said it is investigating, but that hostile fire did not appear to be the cause.


Associated Press writer Bushra Juhi and Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.

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