Also today, the U.S. Army announced that a U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb yesterday.
Meanwhile, President Jalal Talabani said insurgent groups have responded to his call for talks and have contacted his office. He did not give further details.
Also today, Interior Minister Bayan Baker Solagh announced the suspension of a large-scale military operation against rebels following an appeal by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa.
On 24 November, Solagh announced his forces would "forcefully strike at hotbeds of terrorism" over the coming weeks.
In Washington, the White House for the first time has claimed ownership of an Iraq withdrawal plan.
A spokesman signaled late yesterday Washington's acceptance of a recent U.S. Senate amendment designed to pave the way for a phased U.S. military withdrawal from the country.