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Iraqi forces poised for final Tikrit assault

Iraqi Shiite fighters from the Imam Ali brigade aim at Islamic State (IS) group jihadists from a position on the roof of a building within the Tikrit University compound, in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit on March 14, 2015Iraqi commanders were plotting a strategy for flushing out the few remaining Islamic State group jihadists from central Tikrit, a city one commander said Saturday would be liberated within three days. Karim al-Nuri, a top leader of the Badr militia and spokesman of the volunteer Popular Mobilisation units, said it would take no more than “72 hours” to liberate Tikrit from IS, which seized it last summer. Speaking to AFP from the outskirts of Tikrit, near the village of Awja, he said “their number is now 60 to 70”. AFP reporters in a northern neighbourhood of Tikrit saw dozens of craters on a single street, caused by the explosion of bombs concealed underneath.

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