Iraq temporarily halts movement against Kurds

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s Prime Minister is issuing a 24-hour suspension of the movement of troops who are deployed to bring territory held by Kurdish forces back under federal control.

Haider al-Abadi says in a statement Friday the order was given to “prevent clashes and bloodshed between the sons of one nation.”

The announcement follows conflicting reports from the U.S.-led coalition that a cease-fire had been reached between Kurdish forces and troops deployed by Iraq’s central government.

After initially announcing a cease-fire, the Coalition said the statement was incorrect, but added talks were ongoing.

Tensions between Irbil and Baghdad spiked following a controversial referendum on independence held by the Kurds in September.

Earlier this month, al-Abadi ordered federal forces to retake Kirkuk and other areas held by Kurdish forces, but outside their autonomous region.