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Iraq Transition

Next up for Hussein: Verdict in October

At least 32 killed in Baghdad attacks

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been adjourned until October 16, when the verdict will be announced, the court's chief judge said Thursday.

It's unclear if the verdicts against Hussein and seven co-defendants in the 1982 deaths in Dujail will be announced simultaneously.

On Wednesday, Hussein broke an 18-day hunger strike against the court, ending his fast with a meal of beef, rice and bread, court officials said. He used his time in court to demand that he face a firing squad rather than a hangman's noose if convicted on charges of torture and killing.

Hussein and seven members of his ousted regime are on trial on charges of arresting hundreds, torturing women and children, and killing 148 people who were sentenced to death after a failed assassination attempt against the Iraqi leader. (Full story)

As the trial headed toward its conclusion, at least 32 Iraqi civilians were killed and 101 wounded after a car bomb, mortars and rockets ripped through a busy shopping district of Baghdad early Thursday, Iraqi emergency police said. (Watch what weary Iraqis are demanding -- 1:13)

A Katyusha rocket hit a residential building in the city's Karrada section, and witnesses said they saw the building collapse, police said.

The area is home to many politicians from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, a major Shiite party, police said.

In a tailor shop destroyed by the blasts, people tried to pull a young man from beneath a collapsed ceiling, the Reuters news agency reported.

A boy with a bloodied head lay on the floor a few feet away, Reuters said. "My sister is there. My sister is there," one woman said to a man holding her hand. "She is probably all right," he said, according to Reuters.

Also Thursday, at least 19 bodies were found in different areas around the capital. Most showed signs of torture and had gunshot wounds to the head, Iraqi authorities said.

Armed men also kidnapped five traffic police officers in southern Baghdad's Baladiyat neighborhood, officials said.

Thursday's violence came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki urged members of the U.S. Congress not to waver in their commitment to the war-torn country, vowing that Iraq will repay the world by becoming "the graveyard for terrorism and terrorists."

In a half-hour speech in a joint meeting of Congress, al-Maliki sought to portray the United States and Iraq as kindred spirits in the battle against terrorism. (Full story)

Al-Maliki gave the address during his first trip to Washington since he became prime minister two months ago.

With al-Maliki at his side Tuesday, President Bush announced plans to increase the number of U.S. troops in Baghdad to support Iraqi security forces, including police. "Obviously, the violence in Baghdad is still terrible," Bush said at a news conference at the White House.

He said that improved military conditions outside Baghdad will make it possible to move U.S. military police and other forces to the capital, where an estimated 100 people a day are being killed. The crimes, blamed largely on sectarian death squads, usually go unsolved.

Most death squad killings appear to be sectarian, with Sunni Muslim gunmen targeting Shiite neighborhoods and Shiite attackers going after Sunnis. Victims are sometimes abducted by the dozens, their bodies often turning up later showing signs of torture.

In an effort to stem some of the violence, the Army is keeping about 3,500 soldiers from an Alaska-based infantry brigade in Baghdad for four additional months, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Troops from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team had been scheduled to wrap up their yearlong tour in August. But the unit, which had been headquartered in Mosul, will be moved to the Iraqi capital to crack down on sectarian killings that have been claiming more than 1,000 lives a month, the Defense Department said.

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