World Bulletin / News Desk
The governor of Iraq's western Anbar province on Tuesday urged Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to extend by one week its unilaterally-declared ceasefire in the violence-wracked city of Fallujah.
"There are ongoing mediation efforts by tribal dignitaries to convince brainwashed tribesmen who took up arms against security forces to return to the fold and help the army and police restore security," Ahmed al-Dulaimi said in a statement.
A 72-hour unilateral ceasefire announced by the Iraqi army in Fallujah expired on Monday morning.
According to a senior Anbar official, al-Maliki had agreed to extend the ceasefire for 24 more hours.
The new deadline expired on Tuesday.
The Iraqi military had previously declared it planned a ground operation to enter Fallujah but the date of the operation has not been announced thus far.
On Monday, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi called for a ceasefire across the Anbar province to allow the return of tens of thousands of residents who had fled their homes since the clashes began.
The Iraqi army has been waging a major military operation in the restive western province since December, with the stated aim of flushing al-Qaeda-allied militants.
Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, however, continue to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll.
Hundreds have been killed and injured since violence broke out in Anbar's two key cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, according to government estimates.
Iraqi cabinet approves Shiite jurisprudence bill
Iraq's Shiite-led cabinet on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that will subject the personal affairs of Iraq's Shiite majority to the Jaafari school of jurisprudence, a move some observers fear could worsen sectarian strife in the Arab country.
"A majority of the Iraqi Cabinet voted to approve the Jaafari Shiite legislation submitted by the Justice Ministry," a cabinet source told Anadolu Agency.
The source added that the cabinet had referred the bill to parliament for ratification.
The bill regulates the personal affairs of Iraqi Shiites according to the provisions of Jaafari school of Islamic thought, followed by most Shiites.
The bill, proposed by Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari, has prompted a wave of criticism by a number of MPs and local rights groups over the last month.
Opponents say a separate law regulating Shiites' affairs would cause legal confusion and reinforce sectarianism in a country that has already suffered considerable sectarian violence.Last Mod: 26 Şubat 2014, 09:41