Iraq's military, ISIS fight for control of Tikrit

Iraq's crisis with ISIS
Iraq's crisis with ISIS

Iraq's military flew helicopter gunships into the northern city of Tikrit Saturday in an effort to take back the town from ISIS militants.

This comes more than a week after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took over the city. CBS reports the Sunni militant group has swept across Iraq's northern half largely unchallenged - until the last few days.

But NBC's Richard Engel says Iraq's security forces, with their limited abilities, are in for a tough fight against the battle-hardened ISIS.

Richard Engel told MSNBC, "But the Iraqi military is not very strong. They're only able to carry out one, two, maybe three of these helicopter assaults against ISIS targets a day."

And CNN now reports a U.S. official has confirmed the American military is flying armed drones over Baghdad to serve as additional protection for American troops still stationed there.

It's part of a growing response to the extremist group, which has contributed to the country's worst crisis since the troop pullout three years ago. According to USA Today, the White House ordered 300 military advisors to the country after ISIS seized several cities.

The Sunni vs. Shiite violence has encouraged talks of a new national unity government in which, the BBC reports, both of these Muslim sects could rule together.

Time writes that there is growing pressure for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step aside to make way for that government rather than run for a third term. And RT adds, Maliki is widely blamed for causing added division between the Sunnis and Shiites during his eight years in office.

And according to The New York Times, a Shiite cleric has urged voters to choose a new prime minister by Monday when the newly elected parliament is expected to go into session.

Iraq's Military, ISIS Fight For Control Of Tikrit
Iraq's Military, ISIS Fight For Control Of Tikrit