IRAQ'S ruling parties have demanded US forces cede control of security as the government investigated a raid on a Shiite mosque complex that ministers said involved "cold blooded" killings by US-led troops.
US commanders rejected the charges and said their accusers faked evidence by moving bodies of gunmen killed fighting Iraqi troops in an office compound. It was not a mosque, they said.
As Shiite militiamen fulminated over Sunday's deaths of at least 16 people in Baghdad, an al-Qaeda led group said it staged one of the bloodiest Sunni insurgent attacks in months. A suicide bomber killed 40 Iraqi army recruits in northern Iraq.
The Iraqi Defence Ministry said a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt also wounded 30 at a base near Mosul.
After 24 hours of limited communication, US commanders mounted a media offensive to deny Shiite accounts of a mosque massacre and portray instead a bold and disciplined operation by US-trained Iraqi special forces that killed 16 fighters and freed a hapless Iraqi hostage being held to ransom for $US20,000 ($28,400).
Three gunmen were wounded and 18 people detained.
"After the fact, someone went in and made the scene look different from what it was," Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli said of footage aired extensively on state television showing the bodies of apparently unarmed civilians in a mosque.
And, yeah, I know that since they haven't quite successfully formed a government no one is really in charge...