Imam Ali Brigades, members of of an Iraqi Shiite militant group, launch rockets against Islamic State extremist positions during clashes in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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Washington is providing reconnaissance support for Iraqi forces fighting to retake Tikrit from ISIS, an official said Tuesday, the first confirmation of American involvement in the operation.Such assistance could help Iraqi forces move forward with their largest operation against ISIS jihadis to date, which enjoyed initial success but has since stalled into a siege, with the city surrounded but not retaken.A U.S.-led coalition has targeted ISIS with airstrikes and provided training and equipment to Iraqi forces, but had not previously announced direct assistance for the Tikrit operation, in which Iran has played a major role.The operation to retake Tikrit, involving thousands of Iraqi soldiers, police and Popular Mobilization units, which are dominated by Shiite militias, began on March 2 .
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