A military vehicle, belonging to Shi'ite fighters known as Hashid Shaabi, burns after being hit by ISIS militants, during clashes in northern Tikrit, March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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The offensive to retake Tikrit appeared to stall Friday, two days after Iraqi security forces and mainly Shiite militia pushed into Saddam Hussein's home city in their biggest offensive yet against the militants.A source in the Salahuddin Operations Command said Iraqi forces would not move forward until reinforcements reached Tikrit, of which ISIS still holds around half. Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Shiite paramilitary Badr Organization and now one of the most powerful men in Iraq said the outcome of the battle for Tikrit was in no doubt, but Iraqi forces needed time.Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani has been spotted on the battlefield overseeing the Tikrit offensive, in which Shiite militia are a prominent actor, since the regular army folded last June.ISIS is on the back foot in the north, where Shiite militia and Kurdish forces known as peshmerga went on the offensive around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk Friday.
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