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Iraq Seeks Arrest of Lawmaker in Parliament Bombing

Iraqi authorities have asked parliament to lift the immunity of a Sunni lawmaker accused of masterminding a suicide bombing inside the parliament two years ago.

An Iraqi military spokesman, Major General Qassim Atta, says the government is seeking to prosecute lawmaker Mohammed al-Dayni, based on the confessions of two former bodyguards.

The bodyguards claim the politician sanctioned several attacks, including the 2007 bombing that killed a Sunni Arab deputy Mohammad Awad of the National Dialogue Party inside the parliamentary cafeteria.

The military played tapes of the bodyguards' interrogations during a news conference Sunday. One of men interrogated was Dayni's nephew.

The Iraqi military spokesman says authorities are seeking Dayni's arrest and have taken measures to prevent him from leaving the country.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press news agency, the lawmaker rejected the charges as "untrue and baseless." He suggested the allegations were politically motivated.

His location is unknown.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an insurgent group linked to al-Qaida, had claimed responsibility for the parliamentary bombing.

In a separate development, U.S. and Iraqi military officials have announced a new offensive to crack down on al-Qaida and Sunni militants in northern Iraq.

An Iraqi military official says authorities have arrested 84 people in Nineveh province since Friday. The U.S. military says the operation aims to allow the government to restore essential services to the provincial capital, Mosul.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.