Iraqi prime minister says victory certain as Falluja assault looms
BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki vowed to eradicate Al-Qaeda in Iraq and predicted victory as his army prepared to launch a major assault against the Sunni Islamist militants who have taken over parts of the city of Falluja.
Fighters from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is also active across the border in Syria, overran police stations in Falluja and another city in Iraq's western Anbar province last week.
The campaign by Al-Qaeda gunmen to form a radical Islamic state in parts of Iraq and Syria has rung alarm bells in Western capitals and provided further evidence that the Syrian civil war is exporting instability throughout the region.
In a televised address on Wednesday, Mr Maliki also thanked the international community for its support in the fight against Al-Qaeda and urged the group's members and supporters to surrender, promising clemency.