Monday, March 2

Isis tikrit massacre: Iraqi forces reportedly begin attack to recapture Tikrit from ISIS

Iraqi forces backed by Shiite and Sunni fighters have begun an offensive to recapture the northern town of Tikrit from ISIS militants, state TV reported Monday.
Al-Iraqiya television said that the forces were attacking the city, backed by artillery and airstrikes by Iraqi fighter jets. It reported that militants were dislodged from some areas outside the city, but gave no details.
Tikrit, some 80 miles north of Baghdad, fell into the hands of ISIS last summer along with the country's second-largest city of Mosul, and other areas in its Sunni heartland. The city, which has an estimated population of around 260,000 people, may be best known as the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Any operation to take Mosul likely would require Iraq to seize Tikrit first, as the town sits on the main road from Baghdad. U.S. military officials have said a coordinated military mission to retake Mosul will likely begin in April or May and involve up to 25,000 Iraqi troops. But they have cautioned that if the Iraqis aren't ready, the timing could be delayed. Past attempts to retake Tikrit have failed, and Iraqi authorities say they have not set a date to launch a major operation to recapture Mosul.

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