Iraqi-U.S. Soldiers' Row Leads to Shoot-Out

An Iraqi soldier has shot dead four U.S. soldiers and wounded three others while out on patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

An Interior Ministry source told ABC News, on condition of anonymity, that an argument broke out between the Iraqi soldier, Barazen Mohammed, and an American colleague while they were on a joint patrol in western Mosul.

This argument escalated into a physical fight with the U.S. soldier apparently slapping the Iraqi, the source said. Mohammed was so angered that he opened fire on a group of Americans, killing four of them and wounding four others. Mohammed was then shot and killed, the source says.

It was not immediately clear whether the American soldier who reportedly slapped Mohammed was among the casualties.

A U.S. military spokesman confirmed to ABC News that "there was a fire fight in Mosul."

Their initial report says that two members of the Coalition Forces were killed and six others were wounded, but added that "the situation is fluid and still under investigation, so the casualty figures may change."

Mosul has recently been the scene of increased fighting between insurgents and the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces.

A major coalition offensive was launched in mid October in an attempt to rid the city of the remaining Al Qaeda operatives and other Sunni extremist groups. It is among the last few Iraqi cities where the Sunni insurgents maintain a stronghold.

At the start of October as many as 13,000 Christians fled the city in fear after an increase in attacks and threats against them from Islamic extremists. They are slowly starting to return, but the city remains restive.

Today gunmen attacked a Christian family in the western part of the city. A woman who worked for the city government was shot down outside her home. The gunmen then entered the house and killed her sister. They left behind an explosive device which detonated when the police arrived to investigate. Three officers were injured.

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