Iraqi army retreats from Tikrit after assault stalls
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 01:27
Iraqi forces withdraw from the rebel held city of Tikrit, sending a worrying sign that Baghdad may be the next city to fall under the control of Sunni militants. Deborah Gembara reports.
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Iraqi forces withdraw from the militant held city after their latest offensive met with heavy resistance.
Their retreat is bad news for Baghdad which had hoped to keep Islamic State fighters from gaining more ground.
Iraqi forces sought to lower expectations --- insisting that their primary target was Awja, a village five miles south of Tikrit.
SOUNDBITE: Unidentified Iraqi soldier saying (Arabic):
"Our soldiers are clearing the area now to advance to the other target, God willing. Sure there is resistance, but we are dealing with it."
The capture of Tikrit, a major city just 100 miles north of the capital is a worrying sign for many who see a strong Baghdad as key to a secure Iraq.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia isn't taking an chances.
They've sent more troops to the checkpoints in the east and these soldiers say they've already had rockets land near by. Riyadh is paying close attention to every breach along their 525 mile with Iraq --- In addition to patrols, they're also relying on infrared cameras and radar scanners --- determined not to let what happened in Iraq, happen here.
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