Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has declared a state of emergency across most of Iraq, and says a US-led military assault on the rebel-held city of Fallujah will not be delayed much longer.
Mr. Allawi said he hopes the decree, which allows authorities to impose curfews and restrict travel, is seen by terrorists as a warning about government resolve to end the insurgency ahead of January elections.
The state of emergency applies for 60 days everywhere except the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.
Earlier on Sunday, insurgents attacked police stations in two western towns, Haditha and Haqlaniya, killing at least 21 Iraqi policemen.
In Fallujah, residents reported heavy gunfire Sunday evening between U.S. forces and insurgents on the northern edge of the besieged city. Thousands of US and Iraqi government troops are awaiting orders to attack.