Iraq's defense minister says the government will arrest Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi on charges of slandering his ministry, as the two men wage a public war of words against each other.

In an interview on al-Jazeera Friday, Mr. Chalabi called for an investigation of Defense Minister Hazem al-Shalaan for his involvement in a controversial transfer of $300 million in cash from Iraq to Lebanon. The money was reported to have been used for buying weapons and military equipment.

Mr. al-Shalaan said Mr. Chalabi will be arrested and handed over to Interpol for trying to defame both him and the defense ministry, as well as for a 1992 embezzlement conviction by a Jordanian court.

Both Mr. al-Shalaan and Mr. Chalabi are candidates for national assembly seats, and Mr. Chalabi is considered a contender for prime minister.

Mr. Chalabi is reported to be campaigning in southern Iraq, and he has not responded to the defense minister's charges against him.

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