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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 11:10 GMT
Jenkins performs for Iraq troops
Katherine Jenkins performing in Basra for the troops
The star performed I Will Always Love You for the troops
Opera singer and 'forces sweetheart' Katherine Jenkins has performed for British troops in Iraq on Friday.

The mezzo-soprano from Neath, south Wales, flew to the southern city of Basra for a Christmas concert for servicemen and women stationed there.

The 25-year-old performed at Basra's army base in front of about 8,000 troops, many of whom are from Wales.

Her performance came the day after Tony Blair made an unannounced visit to troops stationed in Iraq.

Jenkins five numbers at Basrah Air Station to a packed hangar, including 'You"ll Never Walk Alone" and her own version of "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton.

During her trip to Iraq, Jenkins also delivered Christmas greetings to soldiers from their families in the UK.

Katherine Jenkins with troops in Iraq
Jenkins has taken over from Dame Vera Lynn as the forces' sweetheart

When the visit was announced earlier this year, she said: "Christmas is a family time so it would be nice to bring a little bit of happiness to them and show that they are not forgotten at home."

The opera star has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame and her success was marked with a classical Brit award this year.

Jenkins' debut album Premiere spent eight weeks at the top of the classical charts in 2004, while her third album Living a Dream, released in October, saw Jenkins top the classical charts again.

The Iraq trip caps a busy 2005 for the former teacher.

She has also performed at the tsunami relief concert in the Millennium Stadium, the Live8 concert in Germany and Murrayfield, the VE Day celebrations and last month starred alongside Dame Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church at the Royal Variety Performance in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

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