Iraq crisis: Fresh clashes over Tikrit
Iraqi government forces are continuing an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni rebels.
Aircraft have struck at rebel positions and clashes have broken out in various parts of the city, witnesses and officials have said.
Troops had reportedly pulled back to the nearby town of Dijla as Saturday’s initial offensive met stiff resistance.
The city of Tikrit was captured by Sunni rebels on 11 June as they swept across large parts of northern Iraq.
“The security forces are advancing from different areas”, Lt-Gen Qassem Atta told journalists. “There are ongoing clashes.”
There was fighting in the northern Qadissiyah district, near the university where troops established a foothold in the city a few days ago, witnesses told the Associated Press.
An unnamed official also told the agency of clashes around an air base formerly used by the US military, Camp Speicher.
Heavy fighting took place on Saturday between the Iraqi security forces and armed men from different factions controlling Tikrit, resulting in many casualties on both sides, eyewitnesses and journalists told the BBC