|Iraqi army soldiers and volunteers prepare to launch mortar shells and rockets against Islamic State militant positions outside Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, March 4, 2015 (AP)|
Quote of the Year
“The U.S.-led coalition has never decisively ended any battle. We don’t trust the coalition and we don’t need their help.”
Naim al-Aboudi - Spokesman for the Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia
(Editor - The Government Controlled lap-dog media tells us that Obama is fighting against ISIS, ignore where ISIS got their weapons from in the first place. But be that as it may, now we see that the US is NOT helping bomb ISIS at Tikrit. A "crazy" Blogger like me might think that we don't want ISIS defeated.)
IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi security forces and Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militias on Tuesday pushed to the outskirts of the encircled city of Tikrit, residents and Iraqi officials said, after 10 days of heavy fighting that have seen government-aligned forces take control of two key towns north and south of the city.
News that government forces had arrived on the outskirts of Tikrit, which has been occupied by the Islamic State since last summer, was greeted triumphantly on state television, with officials claiming the militants had withdrawn from the city and predicting a quick victory.
The Salahuddin Operations Center, which is overseeing the operation, said Tuesday night that pro-government forces, including a small number of Sunni Muslim tribal fighters, had surrounded the city and security forces had taken control of the city’s hospital on the southern edge of the town reports McClatchy News.
But Islamic State militants dynamited a bridge east of the city, preventing pro-government forces that had earlier captured the towns of al Dour and al Alam from crossing the Tigris River to support government forces driving from the south. The government also holds a military base west of the city.
State television and government news services provided video and still pictures of multiple locations in al Alam and al Dour that appeared to verify government control, but notably they aired nothing that indicated troops had reached Tikrit proper.
The prospect of Iranian-backed militias – one of the most important, the Badr Organization, was founded as part of the Iranian military in the 1980s – in charge of such a key Sunni locale has alarmed American commanders, who’ve conspicuously withheld aerial support from the Iranian-led operation.
"The commanders are acting very patiently,” the Iraqi commander said. “This will be a long fight, and there are so many bombs planted that even if there is no resistance we move very slowly towards the city center.”
|Iran-Iraq forces move on Tikrit.|