Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Blast at Shiite homeless shelter in Iraq kills one


At least one person was killed yesterday when a blast ripped through a shelter run by Iraq's main Shiite party, a day after a US general warned that insurgent attacks against Iraqi targets were mounting and Washington announced it would pour more troops into the country.

Meanwhile, Iraqis are insisting on trying former president Saddam Hussein in his own country and with their own judges, as several countries prepare their complaints against the former dictator US forces captured on Dec. 13.

"All the Governing Council members agree that Saddam must be tried in Iraq by Iraqi judges," Hamid al-Kifai, spokesman for the US-appointed transitional council, said yesterday.

He said that council members were currently talking about the set-up of the court that will try the ousted president, adding that judges would be chosen as quickly as possible.

Kifai also said that Saddam "was still undergoing questioning by the Americans," who would subsequently hand him over to Iraqi authorities.

"The hearing will be public. We want it to reveal everything that happened," he said, emphasizing that "Saddam committed crimes against the Iraqi people. He killed three million Iraqis and forced two million more into exile."

The pre-dawn bombing of the homeless shelter run by the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), killed a woman and injured eight, a relative of the victim and an official said.

The building collapsed onto families sleeping in the west Baghdad compound, which also houses a religious school.

In other news, the American administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer, escaped a rebel ambush on his convoy Dec. 6, the day of a visit by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a spokesman for Bremer said yesterday.

Bremer was riding in an armored civilian vehicle when a roadside bomb exploded and guerrillas attacked with small arms fire, said Dan Senor, a spokesman for the US-led coalition that oversees Iraq.

The convoy sped off and no one was injured in the attack, which took place on a stretch of highway in west Baghdad near the airport.

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