Iraq PM calls for 'stand' against Anbar militants
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called on Wednesday for residents of the conflict-hit province of Anbar to "take a stand" against anti-government fighters, as the UN warned of worsening displacement.
His call came as government forces pressed an offensive against militants, including those affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who overran parts of the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi weeks ago.
Diplomats have urged Baghdad to foster political reconciliation to undercut support for the militants, but with elections looming in April, Mr Maliki and others have taken a hard line and focused on wide-ranging security operations.
"I ask the people of the province - the tribes, the notables, and all who live there - to be ready to take a stand, to take serious action against those dirty people, without making any sacrifices," Mr Maliki said in his weekly televised address.