[QODLink]
Middle East

Iraq announces 72-hour truce in Fallujah

Halt in military operations come weeks after gunmen took control of city and parts of Anbar province.

Last updated: 22 Feb 2014 15:57
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Fighters have taken control of the city of Fallujah in January [EPA]

Iraq's defence ministry has announced a 72-hour halt to military operations in the city of Fallujah, which has been held by anti-government fighters since January.

Saturday's announcement raises the possibility of a negotiated end to the crisis, during which gunmen also seized parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, west of Fallujah.

"Military operations taken against selected terrorist organisation targets in Fallujah have been stopped for 72 hours," the ministry said in a statement of the city just a short drive from Baghdad.

The decision was taken "in response to goodwill and frequent communications with forces of good and people calling for peace, and to stop the bloodshed in Fallujah," it added.

The takeovers in Anbar province are the first time anti-government forces have exercised such open control in major cities since the bloody fighting that followed the US-led invasion of 2003.

More than 370,000 people may have been displaced by Anbar violence, according to the UN.

Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a period of brutal sectarian killings.

Violence has killed more than 580 people so far this month and upwards of 1,550 since January 1, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

208

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list