AS SAYLIYA CAMP, Qatar (Reuters) - U.S. troops killed at least seven Iraqis in Mosul when a demonstration against their presence in the northern city turned violent Tuesday, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
In another incident in the chaotic city Wednesday, a local official said, three people were killed and two children hurt in a hail of bullets from bank robbers, Iraqi police and U.S. troops.
The children said they were shot by Americans.
Tuesday's demonstration outside a U.S.-occupied building in central Mosul turned deadly when trigger-happy protesters started firing in the air, prompting U.S. forces to return a volley of warning shots over their heads.
Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks told reporters at Central Command in Qatar that Marines and special operations forces then came under direct attack.
"Fire was directed at the Marines and special operations forces in this complex. It was aimed fire, and aimed fire was returned against some of the demonstrators, against some of the agitators climbing the wall of the compound. It was lethal fire," he told a daily news conference.
He said at least seven people were killed and a number wounded.
Iraq (news - web sites)'s third largest city, 240 miles north of Baghdad, has been plagued by looting and violence since the Iraqi army gave it up without a fight last Friday.
A prominent Kurdish-backed leader in the city accused U.S. forces of stoking tensions by raising the Stars and Stripes over the building.
In an interview with al-Jazeera, Mashaan al-Juburi said: "I was standing in the middle of protesters. I tried to calm them.
"When people saw the U.S. forces enter the (governor's) building and raise the American flag, they seethed and started stoning the U.S. forces."
Brooks said demonstrators hurled stones and spat at the U.S. forces and also torched a civilian vehicle.
"The attacking was occurrent on two sides and there was clear observation of men with weapons involved in firing on the building during that time," he said in a stark, blow-by-blow description of the incident.
"In one case we know there was certainly a person with an AK-47 behind the building who was running across an open area who was shot, and he was shot in the legs," he added.
Within hours of falling to U.S. and Kurdish fighters last Friday, the city, which is a focus of historic rivalry between Arabs and Kurds, descended into anarchy as looters swooped on public buildings in a frenzy of arson and plunder.
BANK ROBBERY SHOOTOUT
In a sign that the city was still plagued by law and order (news - Y! TV) problems, Juburi said three people were killed during Wednesday's botched bank robbery.
Jazeera quoted an Iraqi policeman as saying police fired shots in an attempt to stop the robbery and, in the confusion, U.S. troops fired back in their direction.
The Arabic-language station said the four bank robbers were killed and 11 wounded.
It showed pictures of two children hurt in the shootout, both of whom said they came under American fire.
"The Americans started to hit us and we went into the shops and they chased us there," said one of the children from a hospital bed.
Juburi said that despite Wednesday's incident the city of more than 1 million people was now safe.
"There is security, electricity, water, policemen. I am standing next to the fire brigade, they do not have any work because we have put out all the fires," he said.
"Things are back to normal, 90 percent of those who looted came from the outskirts of the city, not the city center."
A Reuters team left Mosul Saturday after shooting broke out near the team's car twice in the space of 20 minutes. (Additional reporting by Dania Saadi in Dubai and John Chalmers in Qatar)