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Iraqi Forces Pause Tikrit Offensive


Iraqi Shi'ite fighters launch rocket towards Islamic State fighters holed up in the centre of the city of Tikrit on March 12.

Iraqi Shi'ite fighters launch rocket towards Islamic State fighters holed up in the centre of the city of Tikrit on March 12.

Iraqi forces and mainly Shi'ite militia battling to regain control of the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) militants have paused their offensive for a second day to await reinforcements.

The Reuters news agency cites a source in the local military command as saying that military leaders had "reached a decision to halt the operation until a suitable, carefully set plan is in place" to break into central Tikrit. He did not give a timeline for the arrival of the reinforcements.

The military launched an offensive some 13 days ago to retake Tikrit, which was captured by IS fighters in June 2014.

A 30,000-strong force of government troops, Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia, and allied local tribal fighters has been mobilized for the operation, which is backed by Iraqi jets and helicopters.

But the advance was being slowed due to a great number of roadside bombs, booby-traps, and snipers.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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