Pentagon Warns Iraqi Battle for Tikrit is Not Over

Iraqi soldiers inspect the scene of clashes with Islamic State fighters in eastern Tikrit, Iraq, on March 15, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: EPA/STR)
Iraqi soldiers inspect the scene of clashes with Islamic State fighters in eastern Tikrit, Iraq, on March 15, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: EPA/STR)

The Pentagon warned on Thursday that Iraqi forces battling to reclaim the city of Tikrit are facing a tougher fight against the Islamic State than previously described.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, speaking to reporters, said that Iraqi forces were now encircling the city of Tikrit, whose capture is seen as a key test of Iraq’s ability to defeat the Islamic State. Warren said the battles lines were now “static” and that Iraqi forces, which include government and militia fighters, had not yet moved into the city proper.

The Iraqi government has declared a pause to the Tikrit offensive and pro-government fighters have taken significant casualties.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe