- Baghdad - Iraq war - Iraqi politics - suicide bombing - Sunni
AFP - A Sunni Arab MP in Iraq was accused on Sunday of ordering an April 2007 suicide bombing in the parliament canteen that killed eight people including a fellow lawmaker.
Major General Qassem Atta, spokesman for Baghdad's military security command, made the charge against Mohammed al-Daini, a member of the National Dialogue Front, at a press conference.
Reporters were shown video confessions -- also broadcast on Iraqi television -- by a nephew and a security guard of the accused MP who said they had carried out several attacks for Daini.
"The suicide bomber entered with an authorisation paper from Mohammed al-Daini and blew himself up at the parliament," nephew Riad Ibrahim al-Daini said on the video, adding that he had taken the assailant to the scene.
The nephew, detained with the guard, said he had carried out "dozens of crimes, including murders... at the orders of Mohammed al-Daini."
Atta told reporters in downtown Baghdad's Green Zone where the Iraqi government is based and parliament is also located that the MP's immunity had not yet been lifted, but a request had been made to the judicial authorities.
And measures have been taken "to prevent him from travelling abroad," said the spokesman.
On April 12, 2007, a suicide bomber wearing an explosives belt entered the parliament's canteen at lunchtime carrying a briefcase and blew himself up. In addition to the eight dead, more than 20 people were wounded.
Mohammed Awad, like Daini a member of the National Dialogue Front, was the deputy killed in the attack.
The blast came as MPs were finishing their meals and others were talking to journalists. It left pools of blood and body parts scattered across the cafeteria.
Atta later told AFP that a raid on the MP's house in a search for a wanted brother, Ahmad, had unearthed a cache of weapons and explosives.
The parliament attack happened despite a massive US-Iraqi security crackdown launched earlier that year. Access to the Green Zone is strictly restricted and only granted after checks and searches at a string of checkpoints.
Daini expanded on his uncle's alleged crimes.
The MP's bodyguards had "killed Christian jewellers in the Mansur district (of central Baghdad), stolen their gold and handed it over to Daini," according to the confessions.
The chief of Daini's protection detail, Alaa Khairallah al-Maliki, said the MP of the party led by Saleh al-Mutlaq also operated a garage in Mansur where car bombs were assembled.
One of the vehicles was used in a bombing behind the capital's Yarmuk hospital that killed four people in July 2007.
"We received orders from Ahmad al-Daini, brother of the deputy, to transport mortar tubes and rounds in a car, and we fired three or four at the Green Zone," Maliki said.
He charged that the MP had also tried to have all Shiites driven out of his home district of Qadissiyah.