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Baghdad Curfew Lifted; Saddam Trial Resumes


A curfew in the Iraqi capital since the killing of more than 200 Shi'ites on Thursday has been lifted, giving way to new violence. Also Monday, the trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein resumed in Baghdad. He and six co-defendants are charged in the deaths of tens-of-thousands of Kurds in the 1980s. VOA's Margaret Besheer has more from northern Iraq.

Baghdad's curfew was fully lifted Monday, allowing vehicles back on the streets for the first time since Thursday's bombings.

Baghdad's International Airport also reopened, and President Jalal Talabani left for neighboring Tehran for meetings with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The visit had been delayed because of the security measures.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran is ready to help calm sectarian fighting in Iraq, but only if the United States and Britain withdraw their troops.

With the lifting of Baghdad's curfew came reports of renewed violence.

Police say gunmen had killed or injured several people in separate incidents in the capital.

Outside the capital, the U.S. military said it was looking into the cause of the crash of an F-16 warplane northwest of Baghdad. Residents in the western city of Fallujah reported seeing a plane go down, and said U.S. troops had surrounded the area. There was no word on the fate of the pilot.

Meanwhile, inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein resumed following a two-week hiatus.

The former dictator is on trial for the killing of an estimated 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq during the late 1980s in a military campaign known as al-Anfal.

Prosecutors charge that Saddam and six former Iraqi Army officers on trial with him ordered the destruction of thousands of Kurdish villages and the murders of their inhabitants through conventional and unconventional means, including the use of chemical weapons.

Saddam's lawyers argue that it was a legitimate counter-insurgency operation against Kurdish separatists at a time when the country was at war with Iran.

Witnesses took the stand Monday, describing the attacks on their villages.

One Kurdish man described how he was captured during the fighting and taken to a place where he was held with nearly 100 other men.

He spoke about torture they were subjected to, including being forced to walk barefoot across a floor covered in broken glass. He also described water torture and other abuses.

In a separate trial that ended earlier this month, Saddam was convicted of ordering the murders of 148 Shi'ite men from the town of Dujail in 1982, and sentenced to hang. He also faces possible trial on other charges of crimes against humanity.

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