Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi speaks with officers as he is shown a map during his visit to an Iraqi army base in Camp Taji in Baghdad February 25, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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Fighters from ISIS have abducted 100 Sunni tribesmen near the city of Tikrit, local tribal leaders said Wednesday, apparently to neutralize suspected opponents before a widely expected army offensive.Iraqi soldiers and pro-government Shiite militias have been massing for days in preparation for an attack on ISIS strongholds along the Tigris River to the north and south of Tikrit, hometown of executed former president Saddam Hussein.The militants initially set up a headquarters in Rubaidha, about 20 kilometers north of Tikrit, after their June offensive, but pulled out after army helicopters mistakenly bombed the house of the local sheikh beside their base.Iraq's military said around 2,000 Shiite militia fighters, known as the Popular Mobilization force, had arrived near Tikrit in preparation for a major operation against ISIS.The news came as some 10,000 U.S. M-16 rifles and other military supplies worth about $17.9 million arrived in Iraq this week as U.S. troops pushed ahead with training and supplying Iraqi security forces battling ISIS fighters, according to the Pentagon.
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