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Tikrit battle continues as Iraq attempts to recapture town from ISIL

The battle to take back Tikrit continues into a second day.The Iraqi forces launched a major offensive on Saturday to recapture the town from Islamist militant group ISIL.Heavy losses were suffered on both sides, according to eye witnesses.Conflicting reports emerged over how much ground had been regained, though sources claimed that the army were pushed back to Dijla, 25 km to the south.With ISIL controlling many towns in the North and West of the country, the Iraqi forces are deploying troops to stop their march towards the capital, Baghdad.Armed US drones were flown over the city on Saturday to provide support to military advisers sent to assist the government.Iraq’s defence ministry received its first batch of fighter jets from Russia, saying that they would be operational within three to four days.The decision to buy the second-hand aircraft comes after repeated calls for air support from the United States.

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