Iraq: At least 56killed in attacks; US death toll in December - 108
A car bomb exploded in a market in the Shi'ite city of Kufa in southern Iraq on Saturday killing at least 31 people and wounding 45 others. Ambulances and police rushed to the scene in Kufa, one of the holiest cities in Iraq for majority Shi'ites.
Elsewhere, the death toll from three car bombs that ripped through the mainly Shi'ite neighbourhood of Hurriya in Baghdad on Saturday has risen to 25, with another 65 people wounded, an interior ministry source said.
Iraqis braced for possible violence as former leader Saddam Hussein was executed for war crimes Saturday morning. Before the former Iraqi president was hanged, American and Iraqi officials expressed concern about the potential for a spike in unrest.
Meanwhile, three more Marines and a soldier died in battle in Iraq, the military said Friday, making December the year's deadliest month for U.S. troops with the toll reaching 108.
The Marines, all assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, died Thursday of wounds from fighting in western Anbar province, the U.S. military said. The soldier was killed in Karmah Thursday by small arms fire, the military said. Separately, the family of another soldier said he died Wednesday in Texas of injuries suffered in Iraq.
Their deaths pushed the toll past the 105 U.S. service members killed in October. At least 2,997 members of the U.S. military have been killed since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an AP count.