Ameri stands in the Al-Alam area, north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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The head of a powerful Shiite militia Sunday criticized "weaklings" in the Iraqi army who want U.S.-led airstrikes to support the massive operation to retake Tikrit from jihadis. The remarks by Hadi al-Ameri point to a possible divide between the Iraqi army and allied paramilitaries known as "Popular Mobilization" units, which are dominated by Shiite militia forces, over the now-stalled Tikrit drive.Forces from the army, the police and a number of Popular Mobilization groups are taking part in the operation, bringing different tactics, skill levels and willingness to take casualties to the fight.While pro-government forces were able to take control of towns near Tikrit and then surround it, fighting to clear the city itself proved much more difficult, and the operation has been halted and the ISIS fighters besieged.
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