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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Phone tune triggers Iraqi MPs row
Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani
Mr Mashhadani objected to Ms Saadi's chamber protest
A bodyguard of an Iraqi Shia MP has been hit by security staff of the Iraqi parliament's Sunni speaker in a row sparked by a mobile phone.

MP Ghofran al-Saadi said her bodyguard was attacked when the phone played a well-known Shia religious tune while the speaker was being filmed.

The speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, later stormed out of the assembly when Ms Saadi demanded an apology.

The episode came amid ongoing tensions between Iraq's Shia and Sunni factions.

According to reports, Mr Mashhadani was being interviewed in the lobby of the parliament when Ms Saadi's bodyguard's mobile phone rang twice.

Mr Mashhadani's bodyguards turned on the man and accosted him. One of the guards hit the man with a pistol, a journalist was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

Ms Saadi told Reuters the phone had played a Shia religious chant.

The MP, a member of the Shia United Iraq Alliance, protested about the beating to Mr Mashhadani during a session of the assembly.

But Mr Mashhadani said the assembly was not the place to make such a complaint and switched off Ms Saadi's microphone and television cameras, before storming out.

Afterwards, Ms Saadi told reporters she wanted an inquiry into the attack on her guard.

"I want an immediate investigation, " she was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

"I want all the Iraqi people to know what happened."


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