Iraqis in the western city of Fallujah say members of an al-Qaeda-linked group are handing out pamphlets urging people to take up arms and back them against Iraqi troops besieging the city.

Residents told the Associated Press news agency that fighters were distributing pamphlets with the emblem of the group - the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - at main intersections in Fallujah on Thursday. 

The residents say the pamphlets urge the people of Fallujah to fight alongside the al-Qaida group, give money and open their homes as shelter.

They also said clashes between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaeda militants raged in two Fallujah neighbourhoods from late last night to Thursday morning.

Appeal to the world

The call came after Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, called on the world to help his country remove the ISIL from Sunni-dominated Anbar, a province including the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi that borders Syria.

Maliki, who leads a Shia-dominated government, gave warning of a long fight ahead as 86 people died in a series of attacks in Baghdad. Baquba and Mosul on Wednesday.

In his weekly televised address, Maliki appealed for international action against ISIL.

"It may take time," he said "but ... to keep silent means there would be sub-states creating problems for the security of the region and the world."

Maliki called for "a strong position against countries who give support" to armed groups and urged world powers to "drain the resources of terrorists".

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, and other diplomats have urged Iraq's leaders to seek political reconciliation to end the ongoing violence and the crisis in Anbar.

However, Maliki has ruled out talking to the fighters and has used his military against them.

Source: Agencies