Iraq's Shiite prime minister is calling on his Sunni political rivals not to withdraw from the government and parliament over the dismantling of a protest camp that led to bloody clashes in a major western city.

Nouri al-Maliki also said in a statement Tuesday that the Iraqi army will hand over control of cities in western province of Anbar to local police.

On Monday, seven gunmen and three police officers were killed in clashes in Anbar's provincial capital, Ramadi, as security forces took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in. Sunnis have been staging protests for months against what they consider as second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government.

More than 40 Sunni lawmakers have submitted their resignations from parliament while as ministers have threatened to withdraw from the Cabinet.