In Iraq‚ the government has announced a 72-hour halt to military operations in the militant-held city of Fallujah.

In a statement in Baghdad‚ the Defence Ministry said decision has been taken in response to appeals by people calling for peace.

Correspondents say the announcement would raise the possibility of negotiations to end the crisis‚ during which gunmen have also seized parts of Ramadi‚ capital of Anbar province.

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