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Iraq PM urges forces to spare civilians in Tikrit battle

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on January 22, 2015Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday announced the launch of a military operation to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State jihadist group, urging his troops to spare civilians in the battle. Haider al-Abadi, speaking from Samarra, the other main city in the province of Salaheddin, appeared to be addressing fears of reprisals against the Tikrit area’s Sunni population. “The priority we gave to the armed forces and all the forces taking part alongside them is to preserve the security of citizens,” he told reporters. On Saturday, at least 11 Iraqi forces were killed in a suicide truck bomb attack on a military position south of Tikrit.

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