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Suicide bombers attacks Shiite worshippers leaving mosque in northern Iraq; 4 dead
American soldiers arrest a man suspected of being an al-Qaida member in predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiyah in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 15, 2008. - photo by Associated Press
    BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers, one armed with a grenade as well as an explosive vest, killed at least four people and wounded 17 as worshippers left a Shiite mosque after Friday prayers in the northwestern city of Tal Afar.
    The explosions came on a day when the U.S. military and Iraqis were at odds over who was killed in a raid earlier this week, also in this country’s restive north. The Americans and their Iraqi allies are pushing to take control of the region, where insurgent fighters are making a stand with their influence diminished in Baghdad and other areas.
    The suicide bombers struck the Sheik Juwad mosque in Tal Afar, about 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.
    The first attacker raised suspicions because he was walking in a hurry and seemed confused. Police shouted at the man to stop, then shot him in the leg when he started to pull something that was later determined to be a grenade, said Tal Afar police chief Brig. Gen. Ibrahim al-Jubouri.
    He managed to detonate his explosives vest, killing himself but causing no casualties, according to al-Jubouri.
    Less than five minutes later, an elderly man wearing an explosives vest ran toward worshippers gathering at the scene and blew himself up, killing four people and wounding 17 others, al-Jubouri said.
    Earlier, the U.S. military said six insurgents, including two women, were killed in raids late Wednesday and early Thursday targeting al-Qaida in Iraq militants in the northern Salahuddin province, but local Iraqi officials said those killed included two female civilians and four U.S.-allied fighters.
    The differing accounts highlights the ongoing problems for the United States in trying to conduct a war in which the enemy is not always clear and tensions can arise easily.
    The U.S. also faced complaints this month from its Sunni partners over the deaths of civilians in attacks both north and south of Baghdad.
    According to the military account released Thursday, troops at one spot returned fire from insurgents, killing two. They then called in air support, which killed another four militants. One civilian was wounded and evacuated for further care, while 15 suspected insurgents were detained. All those killed were ‘‘terrorists associated’’ with al-Qaida in Iraq, said Lt. Michael Street, a military spokesman.
    An Iraqi police officer in the area, however, said Friday that a house belonging to a Sunni Arab and tribal leader was bombarded in a U.S. air strike, and that six family members died. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said the bombing occurred about 33 miles southwest of Kirkuk and two of the victims were women.
    A witness, who also declined to be identified for fear of retribution, told The Associated Press that among those taken into custody was a local tribal leader and head of the awakening council for the area. Funeral ceremonies for those killed were held Thursday, he said. He said five houses were bombed, in all.
    ‘‘Two women were among the hostile forces killed in that operation, but there were no children,’’ Sgt. Nicole Dykstra, a U.S. military spokeswoman, said, adding the claim that some of those detained were members of the U.S.-allied group were being investigated.
    Associated Press Writer Hamid Ahmed contributed to this report.

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