ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Wary Iraq forces tighten noose on IS in Tikrit

Thousands of Iraqi troops and militiamen lay siege to jihadist fighters holed up in Tikrit, wary of rushing into streets littered with bombs and infested with snipers.

After making major gains in and around the city yesterday commanders were confident that Baghdad’s biggest victory yet against the Islamic State (IS) group was only a matter of time.

“Now we are moving to the second phase of our plan,” Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi tells reporters in Salaheddin province, of which Tikrit is the capital.

“We are very keen for our losses to be as low as possible. Time is on our side, we have the initiative,” he says on the 11th day of the offensive.

None of the fighting forces involved has provided casualty figures since the start of the operation to wrest back Tikrit, the largest since IS captured the city nine months ago.

— AFP

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