Iraq: Baghdad, Kurds agree to ease tensions
Also on Thursday, an Iraqi court handed the country's fugitive Sunni vice president a new death sentence after finding him guilty of possession, transportation and using silenced weapons. It is the fifth death sentence since trials against Tariq al-Hashemi began last spring, according to his defense team leader, Muayad Obeid al-Ezzi.
"The new verdict was expected and it is an episode in the long series of death sentences that were and will be issued against my client," al-Ezzi told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
The Shiite-led government has accused the vice president of playing a role in 150 attacks against security officials, security members and civilians from 2005 to 2011.
Al-Hashemi has dismissed the charges as a political vendetta pursued by his long-time rival, al-Maliki.
The vice president did not attend the trial. He left Iraq last year and is now living in neighboring Turkey. Turkish officials have refused Iraq's request to hand him over to face trial.
Two bombings, meanwhile, killed six on Thursday.
The bloodiest attack happened when a car bomb went off in a commercial street in western Baghdad, killing four people and wounding eight, police and medics said. In Anbar province, two soldiers were killed after another bomb exploded near their post in the city of Fallujah, 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad.
All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media.
Violence has ebbed in Iraq, but insurgent attacks are still frequent.
Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub and Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed reporting.
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