Dr Rafi Hayad, the director of the main hospital supplied the figures to the Reuters news agency. The agency has given no explanation of how Hayad reached his figures.

In Baghdad an aide to a member of the interim Governing Council said on Friday more than 400 Iraqis had been killed and 1000 wounded in a six-day US offensive against insurgents in Falluja. 

"To this day, more than 400 Iraqis have been killed and more than 1000 others wounded in Falluja," said Hatim al-Husayni, an aide to council member Muhsin Abd Al-Hamid from the Iraqi Islamic Party.

"These numbers were given to us from Falluja, from all hospitals, and they are correct 100%," he said.

The Iraqi Islamic Party was leading mediations to evacuate casualties, bring in supplies and end hostilities in the town west of Baghdad.

In Falluja itself US occupation forces have bombed the town, belying administrator Paul Bremer's announcement that his forces were suspending military operations there.

 

"As of noon today coalition forces have initiated a unilateral suspension of offensive operations in Falluja," Paul Bremer told reporters on Friday.

 

But, the US-led occupation's deputy director of operations, Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt, denied the reports of a ceasefire.

 

Minutes after Bremer's announcement, US forces carried out a fresh offensive on Falluja, bombing the town from the air. Scores of residents were injured in the attack, reported Aljazeera's correspondent.

  

"There is no brokered agreement for a ceasefire in Falluja," Kimmitt said. "There is no agreement between the rebels and the coalition forces."

 

IGC statement

 

Earlier, the Iraqi Governing Council member Muhsin Abd al-Hamid in a statement on behalf of his Iraqi Islamic party to Aljazeera said military action in Falluja would end for a period of 24 hours.

 

Upon commitment to a ceasefire by the occupation forces and Iraqi resistance fighters the ceasefire would continue, the statement said.

 

The Islamic party political bureau would send a delegation to hold talks with prominent figures in the town, the statement added.

 

Aljazeera, meanwhile, has learned that during negotiations to end the military offensive, US forces imposed many conditions, including getting the Aljazeera crew out of the town.