American teacher killed in north Iraq
Authorities in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah said 18-year-old Biyar Sarwar shot his gym teacher, U.S. citizen Jeremiah Small, before turning the gun on himself at a private English-speaking school during a morning sports lecture. Sarwar died later at a nearby hospital.
Small, 33, was from Cosmopolis, a town in western Washington state near the coast. His father, J. Dan Small, confirmed the death on his Facebook page. “Our oldest, Jeremiah, was martyred in Kurdistan this a.m.,” the elder Small wrote
USA Today March 1, 2012
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq – An American gym teacher was shot and killed Thursday in an apparent murder-suicide after an argument with a student in a private school in northern Iraq, officials said.
Mohammed said Sarwar then shot himself, and died of the wounds later at a nearby hospital. Sulaimaniyah health director Retawit Hama Rashid confirmed Sarwar’s death.
Eyewitnesses described a scene of chaos in the classroom, with several students fainting out of fear.
Sulaimaniyah mayor Zana Hama Saleh confirmed the police account but declined to speculate on Sarwar’s motive.
The Associated Press is withholding the gym teacher’s name pending notification of next of kin.
Sulaimaniyah is located in Iraq’s comparatively peaceful Kurdish region, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad.
The attack came at the Media School, a private, Christian, English-based academy that covers elementary through secondary grade levels. It runs schools in the three provinces that make up Iraq’s northern Kurdish region with a total enrollment of about 2,000 students.
According to the school’s website, American staff often help teach one or two courses each semester. An estimated 95 percent of the students come from Kurdish Muslim families, and the rest are described as either Orthodox or evangelical Christians or from other backgrounds.
Many students are the children of local government officials and community leaders.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has not yet confirmed the death
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