Iraqi PM urges al-Qaida fighters facing his troops in western cities to give up their struggle

Iraq's prime minister is urging all those who joined al-Qaida and now face a siege by his troops in the western Anbar province to give up their struggle, hinting of a possible pardon if the militants give up the fight.

Nouri al-Maliki says he is calling on those who were "lured to be part of the terrorism machine led by al-Qaida to return to reason."

If they do so, al-Maliki says his government will "open a new page to settle their cases."

Speaking in his weekly televised address Wednesday, al-Maliki vowed to continue the "sacred war" against al-Qaida's local branch — the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant — and finish the push to retake key Anbar cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, which the militants overrun last month.