Iraqi drive into Tikrit stalls and forces pull back
Iraqi government forces have reportedly been forced to pull back from the northern city of Tikrit after an offensive to reclaim the city from Sunni Muslim militants was blunted by fierce fighting.Previous claims of victory in the battle appear premature at best. It could have been just a re-occurrence of the Baghdad Bob syndrome from earlier fighting in Iraq. The use of IEDs may have sl;owed the approach and hampered the effectiveness of the Iraqi tanks.
The BBC, citing eyewitnesses, reported Sunday that the Iraqi army had fallen back to the town of Dijla, approximately 15 miles to the south. The witnesses said that the government forces' drive to retake Tikrit had been hampered in part my the large number of improvised explosive devices laid on the approach to the city. The witnesses said that security forces continued to shell the city, though what damage those shells may have done is unclear.
Iraqi officials had claimed that troops had pushed into the heart of the city in what was the biggest attempt yet by the Baghdad government to reverse a series of defeats suffered earlier this month at the hands of the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and The Levant (ISIS). The militants have surged across Sunni-majority areas of the north and west, menacing the capital and bringing the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to the brink of collapse in the process.