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20 people dead, 200 injured in Arab-Kurd firefight in Mosul

Small-arms fire today intensified in the city, which has a majority pro-Saddam Arab population.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2003 20:35 IST

As many as 20 people have been killed and more than 200 wounded in fighting between Arabs and Kurds in the key northern Iraqi city of Mosul, hospital sources said.

"There are more than 200 wounded at 15 to 20 dead Arabs and Kurds since Friday," said Muzahim Kawat, chief surgeon at the city's emergency hospital.

An AFP journalist here saw a number of Arabs and Kurds suffering gun shot wounds arrive at the hospital early on Saturday.

Sporadic small-arms fire intensified on Saturday in the city, which has a majority Arab population loyal to deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

"There is shooting from everywhere," from both the Kurdish and Arab sides, said a US soldier responsible for guarding the hospital.

Earlier today, the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera had reported that calm was gradually returning to Mosul after two days of pillaging that followed the withdrawal of Iraqi forces and the entry of Kurdish fighters.

Kurdish forces had taken over major intersections and armed men were patrolling major roads leading into the city, recovering items that had been stolen, according to Al-Jazeera's correspondent here.

From Mosul's mosques, appeals were going out to police officials of the deposed regime to return to their duties.

The city's defenders surrendered on Friday and US Special Forces began to enter Mosul several hours later.

First Published: Apr 12, 2003 18:20 IST