Iraqi soldier shoots and kills U.S. troops

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi soldier shot and killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded at least six others Wednesday in Mosul, the American military said. As the shootings occurred in northern Iraq, violence continued in Baghdad, with at least 25 people killed in bombings across the capital.

The shootings of the U.S. troops occurred in an Iraqi army compound in western Mosul outside a building where two U.S. Army lieutenants were conferring with an Iraqi captain, the American military said. Just before noon, an Iraqi soldier named Barzan Mohammed walked into the compound with an AK-47 submachine gun and began the shooting spree, according to the U.S. military.

It said he fired a "drum load" of ammunition at American soldiers. A drum load holds a "significantly" higher number of bullets than the magazine that's issued to Iraqi soldiers. U.S. Army spokeswoman Maj. Peggy Kageleiry said Mohammed said something to another Iraqi soldier and began shooting the Americans.

U.S. soldiers shot and killed Mohammed. The six wounded American soldiers, who were waiting outside the building for the junior officers, are being treated at a military hospital.

The Army didn't identify any of the victims pending the notification of their next of kin.

"There was no communication. This guy walked into the courtyard and said something and started shooting," Kageleiry said. "This is completely unexpected. These soldiers have a really good relationship with their Iraqi counterparts. We have no idea why this lone Iraqi soldier would do this."

Iraqi police reported that the soldiers and Mohammed had argued and that a U.S. soldier had slapped Mohammed before he fired his weapon. The American military said the shooting was unprovoked, however.

Kageleiry said that the wounded soldiers probably would "pull through."

This is the second incident of its kind in Mosul in a year. Last December, an Iraqi soldier killed two U.S. soldiers, and is standing trial in Baghdad, Kageleiry said.

Although violence has dropped throughout Iraq, Mosul continues to be among the most dangerous places in the country. On Wednesday, two Christian sisters were gunned down in Mosul and their mother was wounded. When police responded, unknown assailants detonated a roadside bomb, wounding three officers. The shooting underscores Christian fears in the city. Ten thousand or more Christians fled the city last month after a spate of about 15 killings of Christians in just two weeks.

Violence has increased in Baghdad in the past week. On Tuesday, at least 28 people were killed in a string of bombings in northern Baghdad, and three car bombs and four roadside bombs ripped through the capital Wednesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 93.

(McClatchy special correspondent Hussein Kadhim contributed to this article.)


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