The presidential council approval came as suicide bombers killed 17 people and wounded nearly 150 in Falluja.

A senior police officer said explosives-laden lorries were detonated near concrete barriers surrounding two separate police stations in Falluja on Thursday.

A school near one of the posts collapsed following the explosion, an interior ministry official said, injuring several schoolchildren.

Falluja is one of the main cities in al-Anbar province, which was the centre of the Sunni-led fight against US forces in the months following America's March 2003 invasion.

Also on Thursday, two US soldiers were killed and nine Iraqis wounded in a suicide car bombing in the northern city of Mosul.

Elsewhere in northern Iraq, four fighters were killed and dozens detained in US operations targeting al-Qaeda in the north of the country, the US military said.