[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
The organisation is struggling to its relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list