U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has made a surprise Christmas Eve trip Friday to Iraq, visiting American soldiers wounded in Tuesday's suicide attack near Mosul.
Twenty-two people were killed and 69 wounded in the attack, and Mr. Rumsfeld awarded medals to some of the injured at a hospital not far from the base.
The secretary said his trip had been planned before the attack, but was kept secret for security reasons.
Following a stop in Tikrit, Mr. Rumsfeld visited troops near Fallujah, where dozens of American military personnel were killed last month in an offensive to crush insurgents holed up there.
The U.S. military says more than 900 displaced residents returned to Fallujah for the first time Thursday, assisted by U.S. and Iraqi troops who are providing security and humanitarian aid.
Some information provided by AP and Reuters.