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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 16:40 GMT
Sunni Iraqis protest mosque raid
Sunni Muslim protest against a raid on the Umm al-Qura mosque
Sunni leaders accused US soldiers of desecrating the mosque
Sunni Muslims have protested against a raid on a Baghdad mosque by US and Iraqi forces looking for kidnapped American journalist, Jill Carroll.

Hundreds demonstrated outside the site against the Sunday morning operation, in which six people were arrested.

A US army spokesman said the action was carried out after a tip-off, and was linked to efforts to free Ms Carroll.

The journalist was seized by gunmen on Saturday in Baghdad's western Adel district and her translator killed.

The 28-year-old freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor was travelling to meet a prominent Sunni politician in the neighbourhood.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

US spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson said the raid was ordered "as a direct result of a tip by an Iraqi civilian that activities related to the kidnapping were being carried out inside the mosque".

"Both Iraqi and coalition forces raided the mosque in the early morning hours in order to minimise the impact on worshippers and the surrounding neighbourhood," he added.

The Sunni Committee of Muslim Scholars which is based at the mosque, confirmed that one of its members and five mosque guards were arrested in the raid.

In a statement, the committee also accused US soldiers of desecrating the mosque and carrying away files containing the names of members.

"The attack on the Umm al-Qura mosque is an attack on Muslims and Islam," read a banner at the demonstration.


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