Iraqi authorities have rounded up 73 suspected Al-Qaida operatives in recent weeks, some of whom claim to members of cells planning Christmastime attacks in the U.S. and Europe.

The Iraqi government has officially warned American and European intelligence agencies of the plots, which the Associated Press says are viewed as "credible" by U.S. authorities:

[Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad] Al-Bolani said several insurgents claimed to be part of a cell that took its orders directly from al-Qaida's central leadership. He said at least one of the captured suspects was a foreign fighter from Tunisia.


An Iraqi intelligence official said threat information appeared to indicate that Denmark might be attacked, but refused to give details. Similarly, a senior U.S. intelligence official in Washington said authorities were closely watching two people in an unspecified European country suspected of being linked to the plot. The people did not appear to be so-called homegrown terrorists, according to the U.S. official who would not say where they were believed to be from.

The suicide bombing in Sweden last week—by an Iraqi-born Swede—was among the plots that the detainees told Iraqi intelligence they were planning, the AP says. U.S. officials are of course on high alert during Christmas season anyway, since the underwear bomber attempted to strike on Christmas Day last year. Happy shopping.