30 December 2004 -- United States forces in Iraq launched offensives against insurgents in the northern city of Mosul and south of the capital Baghdad after coming under attack from car bombs and light weapons yesterday.
Meanwhile, U.S.-led forces reported having captured a senior member of suspected militant Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's terror group in Baghdad.
The U.S. military said troops backed by warplanes killed 25 insurgents in Mosul in the counterattack.
The military said one U.S. soldier died and 15 others were wounded in the Mosul clashes.
U.S. sources said troops have also begun a new major antiinsurgency operation south of Baghdad, focused on areas such as around Mahmoudiya, where U.S. and allied Iraqi forces have come under repeated attack.
Iraqi officials say suspected al-Zarqawi ally Fadil Husayn Ahmad al-Kurdi, also known as Ridha, was captured along with two other suspected insurgents.
A government statement says that Ridha was responsible for "facilitating communications between Al-Qaeda and al-Zarqawi terror networks as well as coordinating the movement of terrorists in and out of Iraq."
The government did not say when the Ridha arrest was made.
The United States has put a $25 million bounty on al-Zarqawi, whose group has claimed responsibility for many of the bloodiest suicide attacks in Iraq.
In other developments, two Lebanese businessmen were kidnapped in Baghdad overnight.
Interim Iraqi officials and U.S. President George W. Bush have said it is crucial that Iraq's 30 January elections be held as planned despite a surge in violence. Bush said the task ahead is to provide as much security as possible for the vote.