National/World

Iraqi court sentences al-Qaida leader to death

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Iraqi court on Wednesday ordered the execution of an al-Qaida leader and five of his lieutenants for masterminding some of Baghdad's deadliest bombings, a judiciary spokesman said.

Munaf al-Rawi was convicted and sentenced to death for the attacks that included the August 2009 government ministry bombings that killed more than 100 people, according to Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar.

After his capture last year, al-Rawi led investigators to the two top al-Qaida leaders in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, both of whom were killed in a joint raid by U.S. and Iraqi security forces in last April.

The sentence was not a surprise and al-Rawi said in an Associated Press interview last May that he expected to be executed.

A car bombing in Kirkuk, a northern Iraqi city rife with ethnic tensions, killed three people Wednesday, including a four-month old baby and the baby's mother, said Kirkuk city police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir.

He said the car was parked near a hospital and government office when it exploded around 9 a.m. The attack appeared aimed at the city's Kurdish director of water and sewage, Qadir added.

Government officials are frequently targeted by insurgents looking to disrupt Iraq's shaky security.

Kurds and Arabs have been feuding for years over control of Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed, oil-rich city 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

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