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U.S. Releases Al-Fallujah Negotiator After Attacks

18 October 2004 -- The U.S. Army has released an Al-Fallujah leader involved in negotiations to avert an Iraqi assault inside the insurgent stronghold west of Iraq's capital Baghdad.

Also today, a car bomb explosion in Baghdad killed four Iraqi policemen and at least three others and wounded some 20 people.

U.S. troops have been waging air and limited ground assaults in Al-Fallujah for several days, and Iraq's prime minister has threatened to invade the city unless Al-Fallujah residents hand over Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and other militants.

U.S. Marines detained Al-Fallujah's chief negotiator, Sheikh Khalid Humud al-Jumayli, on 15 October. He told Reuters news agency after his release today that negotiations are still suspended.