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US warns Tikrit offensive must not fuel sectarianism

Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State group, on March 4, 2015The United States on Wednesday warned an offensive to retake control of the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants must not fuel sectarian tensions. “It is important — and (Iraqi) Prime Minister (Haider al-)Abadi himself has indicated… that this operation should not be used as an excuse or as cover for individuals taking sectarian-motivated retribution,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. US forces are not involved in the operation, which is being carried out by an alliance of Iraqi government forces, Shiite militias, volunteer units and Iran.

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