updated 7/12/2006 8:40:46 AM ET 2006-07-12T12:40:46

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that insurgents are trying to take control of western Baghdad, but he vowed they won’t succeed.

The Shiite prime minister addressed parliament minutes after the largest Sunni Arab bloc of legislators ended their boycott of the meetings.

The Sunni United Accordance Front thanked the parliament for its help in seeking the release of kidnapped legislator Tayseer al-Mashhadani and called for a new spirit of cooperation amid rising sectarian violence. Shiite gunmen are believed to be holding al-Mashhadani, who was seized in a Shiite neighborhood earlier this month.

Al-Maliki said that insurgents have plans to take control of Karkh, a large swath of western Baghdad that extends north.

“They have intentions to occupy Karkh (west Baghdad) but be sure that Iraqi forces are capable of repulsing them and have started striking them,” he said.

“The government cannot protect every child and every woman,” al-Maliki said. “Military forces will deter anyone who tries to occupy any area.”

He also called on Iraq’s myriad ethnic and sectarian groups to unite to stem the violence instead of casting blame solely on his government.

“It is not only the government that should be responsible. You chose the ministers and the prime ministers. You should not stand up and criticize the government,” al-Maliki said in an apparent reference to some legislators who blamed the government for the country’s bad security situation.

The prime minister added that the government will work on cleaning up the security and armed forces in order “to make them far from political groups and sectarianism.”

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