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Attack in Baghdad Kills 14, Wounds 16


Iraqi officials say at least 14 people have died in an attack on a coffee shop in a Shi'ite neighborhood of Baghdad.

The officials say at least 16 others were wounded in the blast late Tuesday. There were conflicting reports on whether the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber or mortar rounds.

Earlier Tuesday, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein urged Iraqis to seek national reconciliation -- two days after a court sentenced him to hang for crimes against humanity.

Saddam made the appeal after he returned to a Baghdad court Tuesday to face charges of genocide. Prosecutors accuse Saddam and six co-defendants of killing more than 180,000 Kurds in the 1988 Anfal campaign.

On Sunday, an Iraqi court condemned Saddam to death for ordering in 1982 the killing of 148 Shi'ite villagers in Dujail.

In other news, Iraq's Interior Ministry says it has charged 57 employees with human rights abuses for alleged torture of detainees at a prison in eastern Baghdad.

A spokesman, Police Brigadier Abdel-Karim Khalaf, says all of the accused have been removed from their jobs, and will stand trial.

A U.S. and a British soldier died in separate incidents Monday -- the latest coalition casualties.

Iraqi authorities reopened Baghdad's airport Tuesday and lifted a curfew that had been in effect in the capital and two Iraqi provinces since Sunday. The security measures were aimed at preventing any violent outbursts after the verdict against Saddam Hussein.

Also, the Bush administration has refuted reports that the U.S. ambassador to Iraq is likely to quit his post early next year. The White House and State Department say Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has no immediate plans to leave his position.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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