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Iraq's leader: I hope Saddam gets what he deserves

Story Highlights

Open-ended curfew to be imposed in and around Baghdad on Sunday
Iraq's PM says he hopes Hussein verdict "will be what this man deserves"
Five civilians and an Iraqi reporter killed Saturday in and around Iraqi capital
27 bullet-riddled bodies found Saturday in Baghdad, police say
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq is bracing for judges to give their verdict -- and a possible death sentence -- to Saddam Hussein at the end of his war crimes trial on Sunday.

Stiff curfews will be imposed on Baghdad and two provinces from 6 a.m. as officials try to prevent any violent reaction to the trial.

All people and vehicles will be banned from the streets of the capital and Salaheddin and Diyala provinces, and Baghdad International Airport will also be shut down until further notice, the Iraqi prime minister's office told CNN. (Watch as Baghdad residents stock up, get ready -- 3:20)

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he wanted the trial to deliver justice to the former president.

"I hope the verdict will be what this man deserves for what he committed against the Iraqi people," he said during a meeting with tribal leaders Saturday.

"Therefore the Iraqi people will express their joy in the way they see appropriate; we will call on them in an address tomorrow to remain calm and show constraint and express this joy in an appropriate manner that suit this nations' challenges."

Hussein and seven other defendants will file into the courtroom in Baghdad on Sunday to receive their sentences from a five-judge panel.

Hussein's verdict and sentence -- which could be death by hanging for crimes against humanity -- is expected to be announced last.

The defendants are on trial for crimes stemming from a brutal crackdown against citizens in the town of Dujail after an attempt on Hussein's life in 1982.

People were jailed and tortured, and the government is suspected of ordering the execution of 148 people.

On Friday, attorneys for Hussein and other defendants sent a letter to the presiding judge asking that the verdicts and sentencing be postponed 60 days. The letter accuses the court of trying to politicize the proceedings by announcing a verdict before Tuesday's U.S. midterm elections.

More violence in Baghdad

In the hours before the curfew came into effect, continued violence hit in and around the capital. Eleven civilians and an Iraqi reporter were killed on Saturday, and 27 bodies were found in Baghdad, police told CNN.

Six people were killed and 20 wounded when two mortar rounds landed on a crowded area near Abu Hanifa mosque in the Adhamiya Sunni neighborhood in northern Baghdad, police said.

Two people died and five were wounded when gunmen opened fire on civilians in the Hiteen neighborhood of western Baghdad, and two civilians died and five were wounded in a car bomb near Sadr City.

South of Baghdad, in the Babil province town of Mahmoudiya, a civilian was killed and three others were wounded in a car bombing.

Also, police said they found 27 bullet-riddled bodies in various Baghdad neighborhoods over the past 24 hours or so.

Gunmen shot and killed a reporter in a Sunni neighborhood in northern Baghdad, sources told CNN.

Ahmed al-Rasheed, a reporter with al-Sharqiya, an Iraqi satellite TV channel, was killed in Adhamiya around 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to an official with the Iraqi Journalistic Freedoms Observatory and a station spokesman.

The al-Sharqiya official said the reporter was in his car when he was killed. Al-Rasheed, 29, started working at the station in September. He previously worked with al-Diyar TV.

Rocket fired at military base

A rocket launched by "rogue elements of militias" missed a coalition military base in the southern Iraqi city of Basra Saturday, British military spokesman, Maj. Charlie Burbridge said, quoting Iraqi policemen on the scene.

Four Russian specialists were reportedly wounded in the attack and are scheduled to return to Moscow Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

In an earlier report, Burbridge said two Russians and an Iraqi colleague working for an electricity company were killed as a result of indirect fire that was intended to hit the base in northern Basra. Interfax did not mention the Iraqi colleague in their report.

Coalition forces have experienced a gradual increase in the number of rocket attacks -- up from 12 per month to 16, Burbridge said.

Sadr City raided

U.S. and Iraqi forces raided Baghdad's Sadr City and arrested three suspected members of an illegal armed group blamed for murdering and kidnapping Iraqi citizens and security forces Saturday, the U.S. military said.

The raid sparked a gun battle involving rocket-propelled grenades from "hostile elements" as the troops were leaving the area with the cell's leader and two of its members.

"Iraqi forces returned fire at clearly identified targets to neutralize the threat and continued their return to base," the military said.

There were no reports of Iraqi forces of coalition casualties, but the military did not say if any militants or civilians had been wounded.

The raid comes shortly after U.S. forces cordoned off the city and launched a massive hunt for a missing U.S. soldier believed to be held captive there.

The Iraq government later ordered the removal of the military checkpoints around the densely populated Shiite area, a stronghold of the Mehdi Army loyal to Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The recent hostilities in Sadr City and the surrounding areas involving the militia are thought to be due to sectarian strife.

U.S. and Iraqi forces raided western Baghdad's Jihad district and arrested nine suspected members of an illegal armed group blamed for building car and roadside bombs used in attacks on Iraqi citizens and security forces Friday, the U.S. military said Saturday.

Also on Saturday a U.S. soldier died when his patrol was attacked with small-arms fire in western Baghdad, the military said. It's unclear if the death is related to the Jihad raid.

The soldier was assigned to Multi-National Division - Baghdad. His name was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

The death brings to 2,830 the number of U.S. troops who have died since the war in Iraq began.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


story.saddam.afp.gi.jpg

Saddam Hussein sits in the courtoom in Baghdad during a hearing on October 30 -- a week before he was to learn his fate.

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