The new measures signed by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi on Wednesday give Iraqi officials the right to impose martial law in special circumstances and for limited periods of time in specific places, said Nassir Nassir, an official in Allawi's office.

The measures have been signed and approved by the government, he said.

Allawi and his government have delayed the announcement of the measures designed to combat Iraq's resistance on several occasions. A news conference to announce the final draft of the temporary law is set for later on Wednesday.

'Amnesty' offer

On Saturday, Allawi's spokesman, Georges Sada, suggested that Iraqis who fought the US occupying forces before the transfer of authority could be eligible for amnesty because their actions were legitimate acts of resistance.

Allawi is expected to have a news
conference later in the day 

However, the deputy prime minister for national security, Barham Salih, said the Cabinet was discussing an amnesty offer and was deliberating how to give "people an opportunity to reintegrate within society" while at the same time "remaining firm against people who have committed atrocities and have committed crimes against the people of Iraq and against the coalition forces that have come to help us overcome tyranny."

Officials declined to release a copy of the measures before the news conference, and its final details were not immediately clear.

A senior US military official speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US believes the new measures will not detract from the efforts of the US forces in Iraq.

"We'll still be able to go out and do our mission," the official said. "There may be a requirement or need for increase of coordination with specific rules and specific measures that are going to be put in place by the Iraqi government."

No further details were given.