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American teacher killed by student in Iraq

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 1:47 PM EST, Thu March 1, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The killing took place at a Christian school in northern Iraq
  • The student fatally shot himself after killing the teacher, mayor says
  • The U.S. Embassy says it's trying to confirm the identity of the victim

Baghdad (CNN) -- A Kurdish student shot and killed his American teacher at a Christian school in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya, then turned the gun on himself, the local mayor said Thursday.

Witnesses reported that the student and teacher had argued a few minutes before the shooting, Sulaimaniya Mayor Zana Mohammed Saleh told CNN. He said an investigation was still under way, but the attack did not appear to have any political motivation.

Sulaimaniya is in Iraq's autonomous and relatively secure Kurdish region. In Baghdad, the U.S. Embassy said the American consulate in Erbil was trying to confirm the details and the identity of the victim.

The shooting occurred at a campus of the Classical School of the Medes, a private, Christian, English-based network of schools operating in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Saleh said that after the student and teacher had argued, the student pulled a pistol and shot the teacher. Then he started screaming and shot himself, dying a few hours later at a local hospital.

"This is not a religious or political motivation behind this shooting. It's just another criminal incident," the mayor said. "However, the investigation is still ongoing."

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