A huge military parade in Baghdad marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of Iraq’s army, but other than the arrests of a number of suspects, the day was very peaceful security-wise. Only was person was reported killed, while another wounded. Meanwhile, the Pentagon ordered the largest budget cuts since before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City; the drawdown of troops in Iraq should help keep costs down.
Although many Iraqis are hoping that Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s return to Iraq will help stabilize the country, Sadr was forced to urge his followers to show restraint during celebrations of his return from Iran today. He is expected to visit with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Also in Najaf to see the Grand Ayatollah is Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
In Mosul, an attack on a Christian church was foiled when police were alerted of a plan to bomb the church during January 7 Christmas services; six bombs and two explosives belts were discovered and defused nearby. Separately, clashes left one bystander dead.
A sticky bomb left on a car in Hawija wounded an off-duty policeman.
Eleven suspects were arrested across Diyala province.
A former bodyguard who had worked for the planning minister was arrested on terrorism charges in Mussayab.