US enters Iranian-aided anti-IS operation in Tikrit

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 26, 2015
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U.S. Defense Department said on Wednesday the United States began airstrikes against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in a strategically important Iraqi city of Tikrit for the first time since the offensive under Iranian command to retake the city started three weeks ago.

"These strikes are intended to destroy ISIL strongholds with precision ...while minimizing collateral damage to infrastructure, " said a Defense Department statement, using an alternate acronym of the group. "This will further enable Iraqi forces under Iraqi command to maneuver and defeat ISIL in the vicinity of Tikrit."

The statement also said that U.S. operations had commenced following a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Shiite militants and Iraqi security forces assisted by Iranian advisers have been fighting against IS fighters to retake Tikrit, in the north of capital city Baghdad, since early March.

The Iraqi government at first did not request U.S. air support and according to the New York Times, American officials privately expressed discomfort with the idea of aiding an operation led by militias and Iranian officials.

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