The Dubai-based broadcaster has had its offices and staff attacked in Iraq in the past.

A remote-control bomb was planted on the bureau chief's car in September 2008, although he escaped unharmed.

In October 2006, a car bomb outside a previous bureau killed seven people.

Earlier that year, Atwar Bahjat, an Al Arabiya TV presenter, along with two of her colleagues were kidnapped and murdered in the town of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

The channel was also banned from reporting in Iraq for a month in September 2006 over its coverage of a controversial regional autonomy bill.

Iraq has seen an increase in attacks in recent months after national elections on March 7 left no clear winner and an atmosphere of political uncertainty.

More than four months on, the two leading coalitions - the State of Law bloc of Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, and Iyad Allawi'sIraqiya list - continue to bicker and negotiate with smaller parties over who should lead Iraq's next government.