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Fallujah Reps Halt Peace Talks

A delegation from the insurgent stronghold Fallujah (search) suspended peace talks with the government Thursday because of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's (search) "impossible" demand to hand over terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), the city spokesman said.

Allawi warned Wednesday that Fallujah must surrender al-Zarqawi and other foreign fighters or face military attack.

Abu Asaad, spokesman for the religious council of Fallujah, said that "handing over al-Zarqawi" was an "impossible condition" since even the Americans were unable to catch him.

"Since we exhausted all peaceful solutions, the city is now ready to bear arms and defend its religion and honor and it's not afraid of Allawi's statements," Asaad said in a live interview with Al Jazeera television.

He said the delegation was "suspending" talks, implying that the negotiations could resume later.

U.S. warplanes launched several attacks on targets in Fallujah on Thursday.

Negotiations had been aimed at restoring government control to Fallujah, which fell under the domination of clerics and their armed mujahedeen followers after the end of the three-week Marine siege last April.