US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has paid a surprise Christmas visit to a military base in the Iraqi city of Mosul – just days after a deadly attack there claimed 22 lives. His trip is meant to boost troops’ morale – not an easy task following the massacre in a packed dining hall. More than a dozen American soldiers died alongside US civilian contractors and four Iraqis.
Initially it was thought a rocket or mortar was responsible but it is now believed that a suicide bomber, probably in Iraqi military uniform, triggered the blast. Donald Rumsfeld’s trip comes as he continues to face criticism at home following the disclosure that he used a machine to duplicate his signature on letters to the families of soldiers killed in Iraq.