Sunni tribal fighters ride in a vehicle with their weapons as they guard against possible attacks from Islamic State militants, in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani
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Iraq's Sunni province of Anbar is key to launching the long-awaited operation to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS militants, the country's defense minister said Wednesday.At the moment, Iranian-backed Iraqi soldiers and allied Shiite militias are fighting to retake ISIS-held city of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown – an offensive that is taking place without U.S. airstrikes."We must secure Anbar and we are now focused on securing Anbar," Obeidi said. He singled out the town of Hit, in Anbar, saying it is an obvious place from where ISIS can strike back.Separately, Canada's prime minister said he would ask parliament next week to extend and broaden a six-month mission fighting ISIS in Iraq due to wrap up next month.The military mission started in November with Canadian warplanes joining U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS.
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