Eleven Iraqis, including six women and children, died Sunday when a suicide bomber set off explosives during a raid by U.S. forces on a house in Mosul, the U.S. military said.
A military statement said the bomb detonated as U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with suspected insurgents and stormed a building in search of a wanted man. The military said it was unclear whether the dead, all thought to be from one family, were killed by the explosion, gunfire or a combination.
“As coalition forces entered the building housing the terrorist, they began receiving small-arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire once engaged,” the military said. “A terrorist detonated a suicide vest shortly thereafter in the house.”
Iraqi police and the local morgue reported that 11 people, including the bomber, three women, three children and four men were killed in the Mosul neighborhood known as the 17th of July. The police official said two victims were dismembered. He said the bodies were taken to the morgue by the Iraqi army and zipped in nylon bags used by U.S. forces.
A nurse at the morgue, who asked not to be identified, said: “Among the bodies we received, some were apparently killed by an explosion and others showed gunshot wounds.”
U.S. forces described the five men killed as terrorists. Two children, ages 3 months and 5 years, survived and were treated at a hospital in Mosul, about 250 miles north of Baghdad.
A sweep of the house found a cache of small arms and explosives, the military said.
“This is just another tragic example of how al-Qaida in Iraq hides behind innocent Iraqis,” said Navy Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq. “The terrorist exploded his suicide vest in close proximity to women and children, and in a house full of explosives and weapons.”