Saddam was executed Dec. 30 for his role in the killings. Two of his co-defendants in the Dujail case – Ibrahim, Saddam’s former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court – were executed in January. Around Iraq, meanwhile, bombs tore through a Shiite mosque during prayers in Baghdad and struck several targets in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Monday, killing at least 26 people. In Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, at least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in a series of bombings, the most devastating when two parked car bombs exploded within 10 minutes in a southern part of the city. The latest attacks highlighted the challenges facing U.S. and Iraqi forces in their bid to curb sectarian bloodshed with the month-old security crackdown. Execution-style killings usually blamed on Shiite militias have fallen dramatically but bombings have not matched the downward trend. Late Monday, U.S. and Iraqi troops engaged in a major operation as part of the crackdown in the volatile Hurriyah neighborhood in northern Baghdad, state television said. BAGHDAD – A former deputy in Saddam Hussein’s government was hanged before dawn today for the killings of 148 Shiites, an official with the prime minister’s office said. Taha Yassin Ramadan, who was Saddam’s vice president when the regime was ousted four years ago, was the fourth man to be executed in the killings of 148 Shiites following a 1982 assassination attempt against the former leader in the city of Dujail. The official, who witnessed the hanging but spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made, said precautions had been taken to prevent a repeat of what happened to Saddam’s half brother Barzan Ibrahim, who was decapitated on the gallows. Ramadan was weighed before the hanging and the length of the rope was chosen accordingly, the official said. Ramadan was convicted in November of murder, forced deportation and torture and sentenced to life in prison. A month later, an appeals court said the sentence was too lenient and returned his case to the High Tribunal, demanding that he be sentenced to death. The court turned it into a death sentence. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!