Smoke rises as the sun sets after clashes at the front line in the Qadisiyah neighborhood in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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Iraq said Monday it had put its Tikrit offensive on hold and senior officials called for more air strikes to dislodge ISIS militants who have laid explosives across Saddam Hussein's home city and still hold its central districts.The offensive, the largest yet against insurgents who swept through northern Iraq in June, has been stalled for four days after Iraqi security forces and mainly Shiite militia pushed into Tikrit last week. The U.S.-led coalition has been conspicuously absent from the offensive, the biggest to be undertaken by Iraqi forces since ISIS seized around a third of the country last summer including Tikrit.More than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shiite militia are taking part in the operation, which began two weeks ago, supported by a relatively small contingent of Sunni fighters from Tikrit and the surrounding Salahuddin province.
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