US forces on alert

Agence France Presse

Baghdad, December 31

US-led coalition forces in Iraq were on alert on Wednesday for attacks timed to coincide with the New Year holiday. Iraqi police and US soldiers said they reinforced security in the capital in anticipation of more insurgent attacks over the holiday.

US troops continue to battle an insurgency nine months after invading Iraq, and after the December 13 capture of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

"Police have taken strict security measures with the approach

of the New Year and have put in place plans to confront possible terrorist attacks against Iraqis and foreigners," Baghdad police chief General Hassan Ali Ubeidi said.

"Police are going to step up patrols, set up checkpoints and intensify operations across the city," Ubeidi said, adding that more than 11,000 officers have been deployed. On Tuesday an Iraqi was killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb hit a US convoy in Baghdad.