Iraq sent Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to Tehran to help defuse the escalating sectarian feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia, a Sunni-majority state, executed Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, a Shi’ite cleric. The execution has received worldwide condemnation, but Iran, a Shi’ite-majority state, was particularly enraged.
Baghdad is concerned the feud could harm the fight against the Islamic State militants, as it needs both countries for support. Also, although Iraq is also a Shi’ite-majority country, it also has a large Sunni population. Baghdad needs the support of those Sunnis as well. Meanwhile, Iraq’s thousands of Shi’ite militiamen staged anti-Saudi protests in Baghdad.
Colonel Steve Warren, speaking for the U.S.-led Coalition, said that about 2,500 militants were killed in Iraq and Syria during December. Also, about 40 percent of Iraqi territory they controlled in August was won back.
At least 65 were killed and seven were wounded:
Five lawyers were executed in Qayara.
In Baghdad, a bomb killed two people and wounded seven more.
Gunmen in Baquba killed a man.
Militants kidnapped a 13-year-old boy from his home in Muqdadiya.
Nineteen militants were killed while trying to wire bombs in Badush.
Airstrikes left 19 militants dead in Tharthar.