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Iraqi troops and Shi'ite militias are still battling against Islamic State militants on the outskirts of Tikrit and in surrounding towns but have been slowed by mines and suicide attacks.

Military officials, speaking under condition of anonymity, said on March 3 that IS militants had been driven from the Hamrin district east of Tikrit and Iraqi television reported that the army had surrounded the Qadisiyyeh district on the northern outskirts of the city.

Salahuddin Deputy Governor Ammar Hikmat said soldiers found some 100 mines and bombs scattered along an 8-kilometer section of road leading to Tikrit.

Himat said the bombs "are the main obstacle in the way of attacking forces" as advancing troops needed to halt until bomb experts arrived to neutralize the ordnance.

IS suicide bombers have also slowed the Iraqi advance on the city.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa