"They arrested 42 guards of Hashemi saying that he had incited violence against the sons of Mithal Alussi when he was a cleric," it said, referring to a fellow Sunni legislator.
 

Alussi said an Iraqi court had issued a warrant against Hashemi for "terrorist activities" including the slaying of his two sons in February 2005.

 

Alussi and his sons were ambushed by gunmen in a western Baghdad neighbourhood. He escaped unhurt but his sons were killed.

 

Two gunmen were later detained and, according to Alussi, confessed to launching the ambush on Hashemi's orders.

 

"They confessed that they killed my sons after receiving the order from the former cleric and current minister of culture, Hashemi," Alussi told AFP.

 

"He is on the run now and hiding in one of the houses of an Iraqi official in the Green Zone. The arrest warrant was issued by the court for terrorist activities," he added.

 

Hashemi's party accused the national unity government of Nuri al-Maliki of "suppressing Sunni leaders and officials."

 

"The General Conference of People of Iraq warns the government against playing with fire," it said in the statement.

 

It also threatened to expose ministers and officials who had allegedly attacked Sunnis.

 

"We have authentic evidence to back our claims that ministers, MPs and other Iraqi officials are involved in murdering, kidnapping and displacing Sunnis," it said.

 

"We will not take such sectarian measures of the government lying low with our hands tied."

 

Alussi was a member of former Pentagon favourite Ahmed Chalabi's party, but was expelled after he visited Israel.

 

He later formed his own party which holds one seat in the 275-member Iraqi parliament.

  

Sunni leader killed


Meanwhile, a Sunni tribal leader was shot dead in Baghdad on Tuesday, a day after four other tribal sheikhs were killed in a blast at a hotel in the Iraqi capital, security officials said.

 

On Monday,a bomber blew himself up in the
 lobby of Baghdad's al-Mansour hotel [AP] 
Hamed Abed al-Shijeri was gunned down in Baghdad's Saidiyah neighbourhood along with another unidentified individual, a security official said.

 

On Monday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the lobby of Baghdad's Al-Mansour Melia hotel, killing four tribal sheikhs who had gathered there for an informal meeting.

 

Five more people were killed in attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, officials said.

 

Police said two policemen were killed and 22 others wounded when dozens of militants attacked the Al-Asad Iraqi National Police base in the town of Madain, 25kms [15 miles] south of Baghdad.

 

"Militants attacked the base on Tuesday from several sides using rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons," a police official said.

 

A civilian was killed and six more wounded in a roadside bomb attack against a bus in Baghdad's Al-Ghadeer neighbourhood.

 

A medic at the Al-Kindi hospital confirmed the attack, saying that the facility had received a body and had admitted five people wounded in the explosion.

 

Gunmen also killed Nihad Abdul Rahman, a lecturer at Al-Nahrain College in Baghdad's southwest Al-Bayaa neighbourhood.

 

In the restive town of Samarra, north of Baghdad, a policeman was killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb ripped through their patrol on the main street running through the southern part of the town.

 

Army patrol ambushed

 

At least five people were killed when Shia militiamen ambushed an Iraqi

"Two police cars have been burned and ambulances cannot reach the area"

an Iraqi police official

army patrol in the central city of Diwaniyah on Tuesday, officials said.

 

Two women were among the dead and another 14 people were wounded, including four teenage girls, according to a security official.

 

The fighting began when gunmen opened fire on the patrol in the northern part of the predominantly Shia city, setting a Humvee alight. Explosions and gunfire spread across neighbouring areas.

 

"Two police cars have been burned and ambulances cannot reach the area," a police official said shortly after the fighting began.  He later added that five houses and 15 civilian vehicles had been destroyed.

 

Hamid Jaati, the local director of public health, said he had appealed to the city authorities to allow ambulances into the battle zone as he feared there were civilian casualties.

 

After a few hours the fighting calmed down and ambulances were being allowed in to evacuate the wounded.

 

The attacks came as secondary schools across the city were administering graduate placement exams.

 

Salman al-Sheikh Bakr, a high ranking education official, said at least four examination centres were hit by exchanges of fire and that several people had been wounded.

 

Although Diwaniyah, about 180kms [112 miles] south of  Baghdad, has not seen the same level of sectarian killings as the  Iraqi capita,l there has been a rash of fighting there between rival  Shia militias, many of whom have infiltrated Iraqi forces.

 

The militiamen have often also clashed with security forces.