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Iraq Transition

Car bomb kills at least 3 in Baghdad

Hussein trial gets new chief judge



• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide car bomber blew up at an Iraqi police checkpoint Monday near the city's heavily fortified Green Zone, killing at least three people, an official with the Baghdad emergency police told CNN.

At least seven other people were wounded in the explosion, which was not far from the Iranian Embassy, the official said.

The Green Zone is home to U.S. military headquarters in the Iraqi capital and a number of government ministries and embassies.

Another suicide car bomber exploded Monday at a joint U.S.-Iraqi army checkpoint in the Shurta Khamsa neighborhood in southwest Baghdad around 11 a.m. local time, the police official said.

No information on casualties was immediately available, the official said, but the U.S. Army sealed off the area.

A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol around 10:30 a.m. Monday in central Baghdad's Waziriya neighborhood, wounding two police officers, the police official said.

New chief judge named in Hussein trial

Iraqi officials name Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman, a Kurd, to replace chief judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin in the Saddam Hussein trial, Raid Juhi, the chief investigator who prepared evidence for the case, said Monday. (Full story)

Abdel-Rahman will be an interim chief judge, Juhi said.

Amin submitted a letter of resignation on January 15 amid complaints that he was too lenient with the defendants in the trial.

Juhi said Iraqi authorities were unable to resolve the standoff with Amin, also a Kurd, whose resignation was the latest complication in the case, which has seen two defense lawyers assassinated and a another judge step down.

The trial is expected to resume Tuesday.

Gunmen raid Sunni homes

At least 30 gunmen dressed as Iraqi police commandos raided homes of Sunni Arabs in Baghdad early Monday, killing two and detaining at least 20, Iraqi police said.

Commandos are overseen by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which had no immediate comment.

The raids were in the Salam neighborhood, police said.

During the past few weeks, dozens of Sunnis and Shiites have been killed in sectarian violence in the capital. Most were shot dead in the streets or in front of their homes.

Salam is a mixed, middle-class neighborhood of Sunnis and Shiites in northwest Baghdad, police said.

Other developments

  • A U.S. soldier on patrol was killed Monday by a roadside bomb in southwest Baghdad, the U.S. military said. On Sunday, two airmen from the 586th Expeditionary Mission Support Group were killed by a bomb as they escorted a convoy near Taji. The deaths bring to 2,227 the number of U.S. service personnel who have died since the Iraq war began.
  • An official said the bodies of 36 kidnapping victims who had applied to the Baghdad Police Academy have been found and identified. Those bodies and 13 unidentified corpses have been found since Wednesday, killed by close-range gunshots, according to police. Fifty men were abducted January 16 north of Baghdad after they had applied to the academy and were rejected for unknown reasons, said an official with the Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center.
  • There have been no reports since Tuesday on the fate of abducted U.S. journalist Jill Carroll, who has been missing since January 7. On Sunday night, Carroll's father called on his daughter's captors to release her, telling them, "She is not your enemy." (Full story)
  • A military jury said a U.S. Army interrogator committed negligent homicide when he put a sleeping bag over an Iraqi general's head and sat on his chest as the man suffocated. Jurors convicted Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. on Saturday during his trial at Fort Carson, Colorado. The jury spared Welshofer a murder conviction which could have sent him to prison for life, the Army said. Jurors also convicted Welshofer of negligent dereliction of duty. (Full story)
  • CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Shelby Lin contributed to this report.

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