Iraqi government forces and allied militias stand in the village of Awja, on the outskirts of Tikrit, 160 km north of Baghdad, as they prepare to head back to Tikrit to fight against Islamic State (IS) militia on March 18, 2015.
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Iraq has not requested air support from the U.S.-led coalition for its campaign to retake Tikrit from ISIS insurgents, a senior military official in the coalition said Thursday, as the assault on the city remained on pause for nearly a week.The coalition has been conspicuously absent from the campaign – the largest undertaken by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militia groups since ISIS overran a third of the country last summer.The senior military official in the coalition said it was "absolutely normal" that Iraqi forces should stop to regroup before a final assault on the militants, now cornered in an area bounded by the river Tigris to the east.
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