Islamic State militants have set fire to oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit to obstruct an assault by Shi`ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers trying to drive them from the Sunni Muslim city and surrounding towns, a witness said.
Iran's direct support for an Iraqi push to dislodge the Islamic State group from the northern city of Tikrit could turn out to be "a positive thing" if it does not inflame sectarian tensions, the top US general has said.
Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shi`ite militiamen sought to seal off Islamic State fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns on Tuesday, the second day of Iraq`s biggest offensive yet against a stronghold of the Sunni militants.
The United States and its coalition partners staged 14 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq since early Monday, according to the Combined Joint Task Force leading the operations.
Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz on Monday said Turkey will consider taking part in military operations by US-led coalition forces to retake control of Mosul city from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq.
Even as Iraq mourned the destruction of priceless artefacts by jihadists in Mosul, the national museum in Baghdad brought joy and pride to visitors as it opened its doors for the first time in 12 years.