A member from the Iraqi security forces beats an Islamic State insurgent, who was captured in Tikrit April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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The Iraqi government claimed victory over ISIS insurgents in Tikrit Wednesday after a monthlong battle for the city supported by Shiite militiamen and U.S.-led airstrikes, saying that only small pockets of resistance remained.Ghabban and Abadi's appearances were an assertion of government authority after a military campaign bolstered and initially spearheaded by Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen, who have outnumbered the army in the fight against ISIS since the security forces deserted en masse last summer.When the battle to recapture Tikrit began on March 2, the defense and interior ministers were largely bypassed by the Shiite militias, referred to as Popular Mobilization units, according to accounts by two senior officials and a Western diplomat, all speaking on condition of anonymity.Whereas previous defeats of ISIS around central Iraq have mostly been credited to the Popular Mobilization forces, government officials sought to paint the entry into Tikrit as a national triumph.
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