BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister vowed to uproot al-Qaida and said he was sure of victory as his army prepared to launch a major military assault against Sunni Islamist militants in the city of Falluja.
In a televised address on Wednesday, Nuri al-Maliki also thanked the international community for its support in the fight against al-Qaida and urged the group's members and supporters to surrender, promising clemency.
The United States said earlier this week it would fast-track deliveries of military hardware, including drones and missiles, to Iraq, but ruled out sending back troops two years after Washington ended nearly a decade of occupation.
"The support ... is giving us the confidence that we are moving on the right course and that the result will be clear and decisive: uprooting this corrupted organization," Mali said on state television.
"We will continue this fight because we believe that al-Qaida and its allies represent evil."
Fighters from the al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS), which is also active across the border in Syria, overran police stations in Falluja and another city in Iraq's western Unbar province last week.