Maoist rebels in Nepal say they will stop military operations during the country's most popular religious festival.

Rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also known as Prachanda, said Friday the insurgents will halt attacks from October 20 - 28 in recognition of the festival of Dasain.

The rebels have observed similar cease-fires in the past.

The insurgency for a communist state to replace Nepal's constitutional monarchy has killed more than 10,000 people since it began in 1996.