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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Baghdad Troops Take Lead in Fight to Take Back Tikrit from ISIL - CENTCOM

Sputnik News

03:18 27.03.2015(updated 03:31 27.03.2015)

Iraqi Shia militia have withdrawn from the front lines to allow government troops to take the lead in the operation to retake Tikrit from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, according US Central Command.

CENTCOM Commander General Lloyd Austin said Shia militia fighters "have pulled back from that area" and 4,000 Iraqi army and police forces are leading "clearing operations" in Tikrit.

Austin confirmed that the Iraqi government will be in charge of all forces in the assault, a US condition for airstrikes against the terror group there.

It marks a reassertion of US influence in the offensive, the AFP reported. Washington has been dismayed by the influence it says Iran has had in the operation, citing Tehran's supply of advice and artillery to the Shia militias.

The operation that began on March 2 has stalled in recent days "because the wrong approach was taken," Austin said. It will now "move forward."


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