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MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops left a mosque they were raiding for suspected insurgents in Mosul on Friday after coming under fire, witnesses said.
They said American troops and Iraqi National Guards had surrounded a mosque in the northern city during the Friday midday prayer sermon and broken the gate of the compound.
A U.S. military spokesman said 106 Iraqi National Guards had conducted the raid and no U.S. forces had entered the mosque.
"There were no U.S. forces within two city blocks," Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hastings said. "U.S. participation was restricted to the outer cordon."
Earlier the preacher, Sheikh Rayan Tawfiq, said that unarmed worshippers had prevented U.S. and Iraqi forces from entering the mosque itself.
He told Reuters by telephone the American troops sparked an uproar when they entered the women's section of the mosque.
A U.S. military statement later said the National Guards had detained suspected bomb-makers in the mosque.
"As the (National Guard) soldiers were searching the mosque, terrorists fired small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at them," the statement said, adding that one civilian had been slightly wounded.
Witnesses said the soldiers later withdrew, amid jubilation among the worshippers inside the mosque.