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Clash in Mosul Complicates Already Troubled U.S. Arrival
At least 10 Iraqis were reported killed and 16 injured today in a clash in northern Iraq that Marines called a gun battle and Iraqis described as the shooting of unarmed civilians. The deaths further complicated the already troubled arrival of American troops in Mosul, a city considered a center of Iraqi nationalism. Today's firing began this morning as a group of marines tried to secure the main government building in downtown Mosul. A first attempt to secure the building by a dozen American special force soldiers last Friday ended with the Americans coming under fire and retreating. The building — a six-story high, block long monolith — appears to have become the focus of a test of wills between American forces pouring into the area and unknown gunmen lurking in the center of the city. Col. Robert Waltemeyer, the commander of American special operations forces here, remained in the building all day today with several hundred Marines and planned to sleep there through the night. This morning, roughly 130 marines secured the governate, the rough equivalent of a city hall, for a civil affairs team that planned to re-open it as a sign of normalcy in a city racked by looting and gunfire since Iraqi forces withdrew last Thursday. But a large crowd, three thousand people by the marines' estimates, quickly formed around the building. From there, the American and Iraqi version of events are completely different. Col. Andrew P. Frick, commander of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which began arriving here only two days ago, said men in the crowd began firing at the marines. The Americans withdrew into the building and continued to receive fire, he said. When they fired warning shots over the heads of people in the crowd, most of the Iraqis dispersed, he said. When shots continued to hit the governate, the marines decided anyone still in the area was hostile. "The marines said `OK, the fight is on,"' Colonel Frick said. "And the marines returned accurate fire." Wounded Iraqis in the city's general hospital today gave a starkly different version of events. They said a controversial Iraqi opposition leader, Mishaan Al-Jabouri, started speaking to the crowd and hailing the arrival of American forces in Mosul. "They began throwing stones," said Fateh Tata Abed, a 32-year-old man shot in the chest and upper arm. "And the American forces started shooting at us." A second man, 39-year-old Sadullah Ghanal, gave roughly the same version of events. "After we threw stones at Mishaan Jabouri," he said, "the Americans started to fire on us." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- US Troops Fire on Mosul Mob; Twelve Killed Deborah Pasmantier, AFP MOSUL, 16 April 2003 — At least 12 people were shot dead and scores wounded yesterday in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul, a hospital doctor said, with witnesses claiming US troops had opened fire on a crowd after it turned against an American-installed local governor. Those charges were denied by a US military spokesman here, who said troops had come under fire from at least two gunmen and fired back, without aiming at the crowd. Dr. Ayad Al-Ramadhani said at the city hospital that “there are perhaps 100 wounded and at least 12 dead” following the shooting near the local government offices in a central square. Three witnesses questioned by AFP and casualties who spoke to hospital staff said US troops had fired on the crowd, which was becoming increasingly hostile toward Governor Mashaan Al-Juburi as he was making a pro-US speech. An AFP journalist saw a wrecked car in the square and ambulances ferrying wounded people to hospital, while a US aircraft flew over the northern city at low altitude. At US Central Command’s war headquarters in Qatar, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks told a press briefing he had seen no military reports of the incident and could not confirm it. But the military spokesman in Mosul later said “there were protesters outside, 100 to 150. There was fire. We returned fire.” He said the fire came from a roof opposite the building, about 75 meters away. “We didn’t fire at the crowd, but at the top of the building,” the spokesman added. “There were at least two gunmen. I don’t know if they were killed. The firing was not intensive but sporadic, and lasted up to two minutes. A man who said he was a witness told a different story. “We were at the market place near the government building, where Juburi was making a speech,” said Marwan Mohammed, 50. “He said everything would be restored, water, electricity, and that democracy was the Americans. “As for the Americans, they were going through the crowd with their flag. They placed themselves between the civilians and the building. “The people moved toward the government building, the children threw stones, the Americans started firing. Then they prevented the people from recovering the bodies,” he told AFP. At the hospital, where angry relatives of the dead and wounded voiced hatred of Americans and Westerners, a doctor gave a similar account from patients. “Juburi said the people must cooperate with the United States. The crowd called him a liar, and tempers rose as he continued to talk. They threw objects at him, overturned his car which exploded,” said Dr. Said Altah. “The wounded said Juburi asked the Americans to fire,” he said. Ayad Hassun, 37, another witness, said the trouble broke out after the crowd interrupted Juburi’s speech with cries of, “There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Messenger.” “You are with Saddam’s Fedayeen,” retorted Juburi, to which the crowd chanted that “the only democracy is to make the Americans leave.” He explained that 20 US soldiers escorted Juburi, an opposition leader installed as Mosul governor, back into the building as the situation ran out of control with the crowd’s protests growing louder. “They (the soldiers) climbed on top of the building and first fired at a building near the crowd, with the glass falling on the civilians. People started to throw stones, then the Americans fired at them,” Hassun said. “Dozens of people fell,” said the witness, whose own shirt was blood-stained. According to a third witness, Abdulrahman Ali, a 49-year-old laborer, the American soldiers opened fire when they saw the crowd running at the government building.

By DAVID ROHDE OSUL, Iraq, April 15
US denies firing on crowd By Deborah Pasmantier in Mosul April 16, 2003 US forces have denied being to blame after at least 10 people were reported shot dead and scores wounded in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul. Witnesses said US troops fired on a crowd. A US military spokesman in Mosul said troops had come under fire from at least two gunmen and fired back, but without aiming at the crowd protesting against a pro-US speech by the newly-installed local governor. At the US Central Command's war headquarters in Qatar, Navy Commander Charles Owens said: "We're investigating, all we can say now is that we did not shoot into a crowd." Ayad al-Ramadhani, a doctor at the city hospital said "there are perhaps 100 wounded and 10 to 12 dead" following the shooting near the local government offices in a central square.
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