By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 6, 2008
BAGHDAD, Oct. 5 -- A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vest inside a home in northern Iraq as U.S. forces were trading gunfire with its occupants, according to the American military. Eleven Iraqis were killed in the operation early Sunday.
No U.S. casualties were reported in the incident in Mosul, where war continues to rage despite a sharp drop in violence in much of the rest of the country.
At least five other Iraqis were killed Sunday in the city, which is about 240 miles north of Baghdad. Four were slain when gunmen opened fire during a funeral in the Zanjili area, and an Iraqi police officer was shot by a sniper elsewhere in the city, said local police and Interior Ministry officials.
The U.S. raid occurred early Sunday as troops sought to capture a wanted man, according to an Iraqi army source and a statement from U.S. forces. People in the residence began shooting, the military said, and U.S. troops returned fire. A man in the house then detonated the vest, it said.
Five suspected insurgents, three women and three children, ages 2 to 4, died in the operation, the military said.
It was not clear how many died in the firefight and how many perished in the explosion, said a U.S. military spokesman, Tech. Sgt. Chris Stagner.
After securing the house, troops searched it and discovered explosives and small arms, the statement said. Two other children, one of them injured, also were found, it said.
"This is just another tragic example of how al-Qaeda in Iraq hides behind innocent Iraqis," said another military spokesman, Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, referring to the largely homegrown Sunni insurgent group active here.
In other news, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit began an official visit here, in a further sign of slowly warming relations between Iraq's Shiite-led government and Sunni-ruled Arab countries in the region.
It was the first visit by a high-level Egyptian official since that country's ambassador was killed in Baghdad in 2005.
A Washington Post special correspondent in Mosul contributed to this report.