Bombs rock Iraq before resumption of Saddam trial

A SERIES of bombings rocked war-ravaged Iraq, a day before the trial of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein was set to resume before a new Kurdish judge.

At least six people were killed and dozens injured in a number of bomb attacks, including car bombs, while three US troops were killed Sunday and yesterday in separate roadside bombings.

Less than 24 hours before Saddam’s trial resumed after a month-long recess, the court’s investigating judge Raed al-Juhi said a previously unknown magistrate, Rauf Rashid Abdel Rahman, would temporarily take over as presiding judge.

This followed the resignation of Rizkar Mohammed Amin who quit because of strong criticism over allowing the defendants to grandstand.

Abdel Rahman was born in Halabja, the Kurdish town which became a symbol of repression in 1988 when Saddam’s forces used chemical weapons against its inhabitants, killing some 5,000.

“He will remain as presiding judge until such a time as an official decision is taken on whether to accept judge Rizkar’s resignation,” Juhi said.

It will be up to the government to accept Amin’s resignation and for the five-judge panel to elect his successor.

Saddam and seven co-defendants face death by hanging if convicted of mass killings of Shi’ite residents from the town of Dujail, where Saddam escaped a plot to kill him in 1982.

Two US airmen and one soldier were killed Sunday and yesterday, taking to at least 2,237 the number of US military personnel who have died since the March 2003 invasion, according to Pentagon figures.

Three people were killed and five wounded yesterday when a suicide car bomber attacked a police patrol outside the Iranian embassy in Baghdad, an interior ministry official said. One policeman was also killed and four more wounded in a southwest Baghdad car bomb attack, while two policemen were wounded by a roadside bomb in the north of the capital.

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