Gunmen killed the coach of Iraq's national karate team Friday in Mosul, underscoring the dangers still facing this northern city less than two weeks before a deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from urban areas.
Izzat Abdullah, a 45-year-old Sunni, was shot to death near his house in an eastern section of Mosul, according to police and sports officials.
The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said earlier this week that American combat soldiers would pull back from the center of Mosul by the end of this month as scheduled, despite the continued violence.
Earlier this year, he said Mosul might be one of the cities where combat troops might remain. But he said Monday that violence and tensions in Iraq's third-largest city have declined.
"I feel much more comfortable with the situation in Mosul now," Odierno told reporters.