A wave of explosions has hit Baghdad on Christmas Day. One U.S. soldier was killed by a bomb, and attackers launched mortars at multiple targets around the center of the city. Military officials had been predicting a Christmas-time offensive by Iraqi insurgents. The U.S. military says the soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in central Baghdad late Wednesday.
Early Thursday, numerous mortars and rockets shook the downtown area. A military spokeswoman says three-to-four of them struck the so-called Green Zone, housing the coalition provisional authority.
A mortar round also hit an apartment building, wounding one woman.
The Sheraton hotel came under attack Thursday morning for the second time in less than 12 hours. A mortar round hit the hotel around the eighth floor, causing some damage, but no injuries.
Late Wednesday, another mortar hit the roof of the hotel. No one was injured. The Sheraton is largely occupied by westerners, including many journalists.
The attacks came after a second night of sustained U.S. bombardment of largely uninhabited areas around Baghdad in what has been dubbed Operation Iron Grip.