Seven Chinese nationals have become the latest foreigners to be taken hostage in Iraq. The US military said that three more marines were killed on Sunday in western Iraq. It didn't say whether they were involved in fighting in Fallujah. After a week of fierce fighting in Fallujah both sides have agreed to stop shooting. This report from Barbara Plett:
China's state new agency says the seven men were abducted near Fallujah while travelling on the main road between Jordan and Baghdad. They're the latest foreigners to be kidnapped during a week of fierce fighting in Iraq.
A British man has been released. But the fate of three Japanese hostages threatened with execution still hangs in the balance.
Meanwhile, residents of Fallujah are burying their dead and trying to get out of the city during the lull in fighting. Local hospital officials say more than six hundred people have been killed, most of them civilians. The marines insist most of the dead are fighters.
The Americans have failed to crush the insurgents despite the use of massive force. Mediators continue efforts for a negotiated solution. But the US military is reinforcing its troops to resume the offensive if talks fail.