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Ahmed Rasheed

Iraqi police sell weapons on black market

Like many of his colleagues, Abu Zaid was issued an Austrian-made Glock pistol when he joined the new United States-trained and equipped Iraqi police force. But after narrowly escaping death twice, including being shot at near a polling station in Baghdad during national elections in December 2005, he decided to quit, he said.

Suicide bombers kill 61 in Iraqi town

Two suicide bombers killed 61 people and wounded 150 when they blew themselves up at a crowded market in Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim town of Hilla on Thursday, police said. The blasts, along with bomb and mortar attacks in Baghdad that killed 11 people, underscored the challenges for the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Chaos hastens Iraq brain-drain

Six months after the United States invasion of Iraq, Esam Pasha, a 30-year-old Iraqi artist and writer, proudly painted a mural called Resilience over a giant portrait of Saddam Hussein on the wall of a government building. Now he lives in the US. Pasha is among hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been driven abroad since the war whose skills Iraq can ill afford to lose.

US helicopters strike buildings in Baghdad battle

United States helicopters attacked gunmen holed up inside high-rise buildings in Baghdad on Wednesday in what the US military said was an operation to regain control of a major street cutting through the heart of the city. Thirty suspected insurgents were killed and 35 more detained during day-long gun battles in the area, Defence Ministry spokesperson Mohammed al-Askari said.

Saddam appeals controversial death sentence

Lawyers for Saddam Hussein and two former aides sentenced to death lodged appeals on Sunday, the Iraqi prosecutor said, following a trial slammed by some rights experts as unfair and fundamentally flawed. The defence had been given until Tuesday to submit their appeals.

Saddam ejected from trial, punch thrown

The chief judge ejected Saddam Hussein and a co-defendant punched one of the guards and denounced prosecutors as pimps and traitors during the toppled Iraq leader's genocide trial on Tuesday. The government criticised the United States-backed court after the chaotic scenes. Last month it sacked the previous presiding judge because it believed he was too soft with Saddam.

Brother-in-law of Saddam trial judge killed

A brother-in-law of the judge trying Saddam Hussein for genocide was shot dead by gunmen while driving in western Baghdad, police said on Friday. A police source told Reuters that the 10-year-old nephew of chief judge Mohammed al-Ureybi and a third person in the car were wounded in the attack on Thursday evening.

Saddam ejected after trial starts with new judge

The new chief judge in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial ejected the ousted Iraqi leader from the courtroom for refusing to sit down moments after hearings began on Wednesday. Defence lawyers also stormed out in protest against the sacking of Mohammed al-Ureybi's predecessor.

Bombings, shootings kill over 60 in Iraq

Bombings and shootings killed up to 61 people in Iraq on Tuesday, including at least 26 soldiers, undermining the government's attempts to show it can suppress unremitting violence. A roadside bomb attack on a bus filled with Iraqi troops on a road between Tikrit and Baiji, north of Baghdad, killed at least 23, the army said.

Bomb attacks on Iraqi forces kill 40

Bombs killed at least 40 people on Tuesday, half of them Iraqi soldiers, in the latest blow to the new government's efforts to inspire confidence in the country's security forces. The most dramatic blast was a roadside bomb attack on a bus filled with soldiers on a road between Tikrit and Baiji north of Baghdad. At least 20 of them were killed.

Saddam to wait until October to know his fate

The trial of Saddam Hussein and seven of his top lieutenants for crimes against humanity was adjourned on Thursday to October when the verdict carrying the maximum penalty of death is expected to be delivered. ''The court decided to adjourn the session ... until October 16,'' said Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman.

Saddam says he prefers firing squad over hangman

Saddam Hussein, weak from a hunger strike, said on Wednesday that he has been forced to attend his trial for crimes against humanity and that he would prefer to be shot than hung if found guilty. The entire defence team boycotted the latest session in the controversial trial which is approaching its conclusion.

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