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Iraq PM offers amnesty to Sunni militants

Baghdad : Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Wednesday offered amnesty to Sunni militants who fought against the government and took control of swathes of territories in the Sunni-dominated provinces.

“I announce an amnesty for all tribes and all people who have been involved in actions against the state, who now return to their senses. They are welcome. We will not exclude anyone except those involved in killings,” Xinhua quoted Maliki as saying in his televised weekly speech.

Maliki’s offer is seen as an attempt to reduce the number of Sunni fighters and to cut the support by the Sunni community to those who took up arms against the government.

Iraq has been witnessing its worst security conditions that began about three weeks ago when armed Sunni insurgents, spearheaded by the Al Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), launched a surprise offensive that led to the debacle of Iraqi security forces, and the fall of a large part of the country’s northern and western territories.