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U.S. soldier, interpreter die in Iraq police attack

Two Iraqi policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers visiting a police station in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, killing an interpreter and wounding four Americans, Iraqi officials said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Officials say an American soldier has died after an attack on U.S. troops in northern Iraq.

They say two policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers visiting an Iraqi police station. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed. Three Americans were wounded.

It was the fourth such shooting in the Mosul area in just over a year purportedly involving Iraqi security forces, raising concerns about infiltration among the police ranks in an area considered the last urban stronghold of Sunni insurgents.

A police spokesman says the attackers fled the area in a car. A manhunt is under way.

The U.S. military confirmed that one interpreter was killed while four U.S. soldiers and another interpreter were wounded by small-arms fire as they were holding a meeting at an Iraqi police station about 2 p.m. in Mosul.

But it provided no other details, saying the attack was still under investigation.

Attackers flee in car
According to police spokesman Brig. Gen. Saeed Ahmed al-Jubouri, the two policemen began shooting at the Americans as they were visiting an Iraqi police bridge protection force in Mosul, about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Al-Jubouri said an Iraqi police captain who was commanding the regiment also was wounded. The attackers, who were regular police officers, fled the area in a car and a manhunt was under way, he said.

The latest attack comes just over two weeks after a suicide car bomber struck a U.S. patrol in Mosul, killing four American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter in the deadliest single attack against U.S. forces in nine months.

With violence unrelenting in Mosul, U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a new military offensive dubbed Operation New Hope aimed at rooting out al-Qaida and other Sunni insurgents in the city and the surrounding Ninevah province.

Several previous operations have failed to quell the violence in the volatile area, where insurgents remain active and ethnic tensions between Kurds and mainly Sunni Arabs have been on the rise.

Other attacks by Iraqi soldiers
On Nov. 25, two U.S. troops — a Marine and a soldier on a transition team working with the Iraqis — were killed when a gunman in an Iraqi army uniform opened fire while they were distributing aid southwest of Mosul.

An Iraqi soldier also ambushed U.S. soldiers in a courtyard of an Iraqi military base in a dangerous Sunni Arab neighborhood in Mosul on Nov. 12, killing two Americans and wounding six before he died in the subsequent gunbattle.

And in December 2007, an Iraqi soldier also allegedly shot and killed a U.S. captain and a sergeant during a joint operation in Mosul.

The most recent attack in Mosul comes a day after three U.S. soldiers and an interpreter were killed during fighting in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

At least 4,250 members of the U.S. military who have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

President Barack Obama, who campaigned on a promise to end the war in Iraq, is expected to announce further troop withdrawals after his recent announcement that he is sending thousands more combat forces to Afghanistan.

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