Vice-President's death sentence raises tensions


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The Independent Online

At least 75 people were killed in attacks across Iraq yesterday, and sectarian tensions threatened to worsen as a court imposed the death penalty on a fugitive former Vice-President.

As Iraqis were reeling from the bombings, blasts and shootings at 11 locations including Kirkuk, pictured, the court found Tareq al-Hashemi guilty of running death squads that targeted security forces and Shias. He fled the country earlier this year.

Iraq's conflict has eased since its height in 2006-07 when sectarian slaughter killed thousands. But Sunni Islamists and an al-Qa'ida affiliate still launch about one major attack a month in an effort to reignite tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

In the most serious of yesterday's attacks, two car bombs exploded outside a Shia shrine in Amara, 185 miles south of Baghdad, killing at least 16 people. In Dujail, 30 miles north of Baghdad, gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a military base, killing 11 soldiers.