The court trying ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has appointed a new presiding judge.

A spokesman, Raid Jouhi, for the tribunal says judge Raouf Abdel Rahman will head the court when it resumes hearings Tuesday.

Rahman, a Kurd, was born in the town of Halabja, where thousands were killed during a chemical weapons attack by Saddam's forces in 1988.

Earlier this month, Kurdish chief judge Rizgar Muhammad Amin resigned following criticism of his handling of the trial.

Amin's deputy judge, Sayeed al-Hamashi, was widely expected to lead the trial once it resumed, but last week a commission - Iraq's Debaathification Committee - accused him of ties to the former ruling Baath party, a charge he denies.

In central Baghdad Monday, Iraqi police say a suicide car bomber killed at least two people and wounded five at a checkpoint near the Iranian Embassy.

Separately, the U.S. military says a roadside bomb killed two American airmen and wounded another Sunday near an airbase (Taji) north of Baghdad.

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