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Iraq military clashes with militants in Tikrit

Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Clashes broke out Tuesday between Iraqi security forces and militants on the outskirts of Tikrit, a local official and a resident said, a day after the Iraqi and Kurdish troops backed by U.S. airstrikes dislodged Islamic militants from a strategic dam in the country's north.

The clashes began on the southwestern outskirts of the militant-held city of Tikrit, located about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, when a military convoy was travelling along the main highway that links Baghdad with the northern provinces, they said.

The Iraqi military shelled militant positions inside and outside the city, they said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Both spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing their safety.

Sunni extremists from Islamic State group have occupied Tikrit and the northern city of Mosul since early June, as well as large parts of the country's north and west. The militant onslaught has plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.

The group since has imposed a self-styled caliphate in territory it controls in Iraq and neighboring Syria, imposing their own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Sporadic clashes have been reported around Tikrit and other areas since then, but efforts by Iraqi government forces and allied Sunni tribal militiamen have failed to push out the militants. Earlier this month, the tomb of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein located near Tikrit was damaged in clashes between security forces and the radical group.

On Monday, Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured Iraq's Mosul Dam less than two weeks after it was seized by the militants. The dam is the largest in Iraq and a vital power and water resource for the country.

Obama: Recapture of Mosul Dam a Major Victory for Iraq

The gains made by the militants brought U.S. forces back into the conflict for the first time since they withdrew in 2011. America's renewed involvement on the battle field was a reflection of the growing international concern over the Sunni extremist group. Washington began carrying out dozens of airstrikes on Aug. 8.

Hours after retaking the dam, President Barack Obama called the development a "major step forward" in the battle against the group.

Obama said a breach of the dam could have had catastrophic consequences and endangered U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad. He said the U.S. was urgently providing arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces as well as Kurdish fighters fighting the extremists.

"We've got a national security interest in making sure our people are protected and in making sure that a savage group that seems willing to slaughter people for no rhyme or reason other than they have not kowtowed - that a group like that is contained, because ultimately it can pose a threat to us," Obama told reporters.

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vcambri01 August 19 2014 at 9:40 AM

Another quiet success of Barrack Obama. Leading from behind is underrated. Libya, Chemical weapons in Ryria, Ukraine, the US economy, Osama Bin Laden, now Isis. Obama quietly does his job anfd gets exactly the results we need with minimal US casualties.

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10 replies
Frank August 19 2014 at 9:18 AM

Must be a mistake here. We don't have "boots on the ground" McCain and Sarah are in disbelief. Obama haters are speachless. Well until the people that think for them can come up with a spin

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2 replies
chrlbrw1122 Frank August 19 2014 at 10:14 AM

You are an ignorant sissy..There are over a thousand armed Americans on the ground. right now, there will be more..Sissy.

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renner1234 August 19 2014 at 10:59 AM

How can Obama say a few weeks ago that US bombing would do nothing and today he is boasting that the very limited bombing has help re take the dam.

How can a college educated person have no common sense.

Oh I forgot he is a community organizer, he will say anything to make himself look good.

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4 replies
Ron August 19 2014 at 12:09 PM

Thanks Obama for WASTING 10 years of getting Iraq stable! You are awful!!!

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2 replies
msuzye Ron August 19 2014 at 12:55 PM

Getting Iraq stable..are you an employee of Haliburton or just a fan of Cheney?

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kcarthey Ron August 19 2014 at 2:00 PM

I knew Arabia was known for its horses but I never knew Iraq was known for ways to house them. Thanks for the info.

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chrlbrw1122 August 19 2014 at 10:18 AM

Obozo the General cant eve handle the problems here in the US, and no balls Bozo think he can handle the World problems.

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3 replies
rjollierroger August 19 2014 at 10:35 AM

It is amazing the results that you get from a couple of well placed air strikes and a little confidence boost on the part of the ground forces.

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tsgrcels August 19 2014 at 12:57 PM

The Islamic fundamentalist terrorists of all stripes are the spawn of Satan. They defile Islam. The self-called Calif of ISIL is Satin in the flesh. The quicker "good" Muslims realize this and drive the Satanists out of their mosques, the better we will all be.

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1 reply
nouras6 tsgrcels August 19 2014 at 11:40 PM

True.....I've read more about the new laws of ISIS...listen to this: women are forbidden from sitting on chairs, they must sit on the floor....smoking is forbidden, and if they catch someone smoking, they will cut off his/her index finger and the middle finger.....having braces to straighten the teeth is not allowed....&&&&&&

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maudezilla August 19 2014 at 9:54 AM

never should have gotten rid of Saadam HE would have kept them in check and this situation would never exsit.

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3 replies
snrar August 19 2014 at 11:08 AM

I said it weeks ago ISIS is not a super human terror army they bleed and die like every one else . And history again will prevail again ! Any army who fights two fronts always in the end loses . They had gains in Iraq only because they had no one standing up to them until the KURDS who despite lack of weapons and ammunition were holding out . Now with some air cover and strikes things have changed . To defeat them you need an army willing to fight which the Iraq army has not . But with the equipment and it willing warriors the Kurds have shown what can be done ! Thats right defeat them by killing them as I said they bleed like all of us do .

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tjones1120 August 19 2014 at 12:17 PM

Obama is a very caring President and not like Republicans who does not wabt or care about the American people.

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1 reply
d.carns tjones1120 August 20 2014 at 12:57 AM

Get off those drugs you are taking very quickly!! it has already destroyed most of your brain cells if you had any to begin with??.

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