14 Iraqis killed in Mosul violence |
Six foreign hostages in Iraq released
At least 14 Iraqis were killed and 26 wounded in a roadside bomb blast and fierce clashes between Iraqi police and insurgents in the main northern city of Mosul, medics and police said.
"The hospital received 12 bodies, including two women, and 26 injured, most of them civilians," said a doctor at Mosul's Medical City hospital, after the violent clashes broke out between insurgents and police.
The fighting erupted at around midday (0800 GMT) yesterday southwest of Mosul on the west bank of the Tigris River amid the sound of loud explosions and heavy gunfire, an AFP correspondent said. At least five bridges were cut off.
Earlier a man and a woman were killed when a roadside bomb exploded in the path of a US military convoy, police said.
"The bomb went off at 10:35 am (0635 GMT) in the Mamoun neighbourhood, killing a man and a woman and injuring two people," said Captain Hamad Hassan Abdullah.
The device detonated when a US patrol passed along the road, Abdullah said. The US military said none of its personnel were hurt in the blast.
A doctor at Mosul's general hospital said pieces of shrapnel had been removed from the two wounded people, who were in a stable condition.
Four Jordanian hostages were freed by Iraqi gunmen who raided their captors' hideout, one of the released captives said yesterday, while a video from kidnappers said two Turkish hostages had also been released.
The news provided a moment of respite in the hostage crisis confronting Iraq's interim government, but fighting between police and insurgents in Mosul that killed at least 12 people underscored the scale of the security challenge they face.
One of the Jordanian hostages said he had been released with three other Jordanian truck drivers after a group of Iraqis stormed a house in the city of Falluja late on Tuesday and freed them without firing a shot.
"When the brave people of Falluja knew that we were held hostage they raided the house and rescued us last night. We are all safe," one of the hostages, Ahmad Hassan Abu Jafaar, told Reuters in Baghdad by telephone.
"We're expecting to go back to Jordan today."
A group calling itself the Death Squad of Iraqi Resistance said last Thursday it was holding the Jordanians to put pressure on their transport company to stop cooperation with U.S. forces. Jafaar said the kidnappers had wanted money.
The Iraqi rescuers were sent by a council of local elders formed last month to battle crime and kidnapping in Falluja, where the interim government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in Baghdad exercises only minimal authority.
Insurgents aiming to disrupt supplies delivered to U.S. forces from neighboring countries have seized foreign drivers in the past few months, threatening to kill them unless their employers stop operating in Iraq or pay ransoms.
Relatives of the Jordanians, who were seized nine days ago, said they were staying with a local leader in Falluja.