Despite a much-publicized "withdrawal" of U.S. troops last summer, American soldiers are still celebrating Christmas in Baghdad, but attacks have not stopped. At least 10 Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded in the latest violence.
Christians in Iraq are celebrating a low-key Christmas this year thanks to threats and previous violence. In Baghdad, where a horrific attack left 53 dead at the Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church, Christians are still attending mass at the church but with security better fit for a prison. Another church saw about 40 worshippers attend services. For many of them, however, it could be their last Christmas in Baghdad.
Parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi has taken on the task of eliminating corruption in a program that hires security guards for politicians. Meanwhile, an aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the spiritual leader described the new cabinet as being sub-standard.
In the United States, two men plead guilty to conspiring with a Navy SEAL and his friend to smuggle weapons from Iraq and Afghanistan; the Navy SEAL and a fourth man plead not guilty to various charges in a Nevada courtroom yesterday.
Five people were killed and four more were wounded when a blast leveled a Mahdi Army member’s home in Haswa. The attack left the militia member, his wife, and three children dead. The Mahdi Army was loyal to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who retired the group in 2008, but its members have been resurfacing in the last few months.
A man was accused of killing his daughter in an unusual "honor" killing in Mandali. Police went to the family’s home to arrest the daughter on suspicion of training to be a suicide bomber, but her father had already killed her for joining al-Qaeda.
Two policemen were killed in a Samarra bomb blast.
In Tikrit, four soldiers were wounded in a bomb attack.
A tribal feud left one dead in Amara.
Eight suspects were arrested in Hilla.