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Iranian embassy employees shot in Baghdad

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  • Some reports say the shootings involved Iraqi troops
  • Iraqi Interior Ministry official says five employees and a driver were shot
  • Iran's state-run news agency blames the United States for the attack
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iranian Embassy employees and their driver were shot Thursday in a Baghdad incident that some reports said involved Iraqi troops.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said five employees of the Iranian Embassy were shot and wounded about 9 p.m. in Baghdad. The official said there had been conflicting reports about the shooting.

An Interior Ministry report said unidentified gunmen in northern Baghdad fired on two SUVs carrying the five employees and driver, who were transported to an Iraqi hospital.

The Baghdad Operations Command, however, reported that an Iraqi army patrol was shot at and returned fire at the SUVs -- injuring the embassy workers and their driver, according to the official.

Meanwhile, Iran's semi-official FARS news agency was reporting that three Iranians and one Iraqi employee of the embassy were injured when shot by "unidentified terrorists."

The agency quoted an Iranian Embassy official as saying the group was traveling to visit the graves of two religious leaders when 16 bullets were fired at their vehicle from another vehicle.

FARS identified the injured Iranians as Abolfazl Zavvar Mohammadi, Akbar Ghasemi and Majid Jaberi, and said Jaberi was in critical condition at a hospital.

Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency was blaming the United States for the attack.

"U.S. agents carried out terror attacks on Iranian Embassy staff in Baghdad," a bulletin on IRNA's Web site said.

Another message posted eight minutes later read, "Iran holds the U.S. government responsible for terror attacks on Iranian Embassy staff in Baghdad."

Col. Jerry O'Hara, a U.S. military spokesman, emphasized the the United States "was in no way involved in this attack."

"The U.S. military is not in the business of attacking innocent people and strongly condemns any attack on guests or visitors of any country."

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