BAGHDAD (AFP) - A military court on Friday found a US soldier guilty of premeditated murder in the killings of four blindfolded Iraqi prisoners in 2007, a US Army spokesman said. "A military panel just returned findings of guilty to premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Sergeant (Michael) Leahy," Lieutenant Colonel George Wright told AFP. "The panel has moved to the sentencing phase," he said of the military court in Vilseck, southern Germany. Leahy, one of several soldiers charged in the brutal killings, faces a possible sentence of life in prison. US media have reported that the group killed four handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots to the head beside a Baghdad canal. Meanwhile, a US soldier, a candidate in local elections last month and an Iraqi policeman were killed in violence around the country on Saturday, the military and police said. The US military said the soldier was killed during a combat patrol near Baghdad, in the first reported death in American ranks for six days. It gave no details, saying only that the incident was under investigation. At least 4,246 US military personnel have died in Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion, according to an AFP tally based on the independent website A police lieutenant was killed in the northern town of Tikrit when a "sticky bomb" exploded as he got into his car, local police said. And gunmen shot dead a losing candidate in Iraq's January 31 provincial elections, Mohammed Hadi Laihoub, at his home in Babil province, south of the capital, a police official said. His party, the Iraqi Nation List, is led by controversial secular Sunni Arab politician Mithal al-Alusi. While, Iraqi security forces said on Saturday they had arrested dozens of "terrorists" in a day-long operation targeting suspects in Mosul, seen as Al-Qaeda's last stronghold in the country. "The operation started yesterday and ended today and led to the arrest of 74 terrorists wanted by the Iraqi forces," defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari told AFP. "They are from various terrorist groups, especially from Al-Qaeda," he said. Police and troops carried out "a military operation targeting terrorists and criminals in Mosul," he said, indicating that the operation had prevented the suspects from carrying out planned attacks. "We did the raids according to intelligence information and before they could implement their plans. The forces also freed a person and defused two car bombs," he added. The US army says that the northern city of Mosul is the last bastion of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.