Government forces, Iranian-trained militiamen, and untrained volunteers pushed into the center of Tikrit, assuming that extremist ISIS militants had retreated, and were about to hoist the Iraqi flag over the key town of Tikrit when they were ambushed.
From The Times:
“That was when ‘the doors of hell opened,’ said Ali, a soldier in a tank division, who was at the hospital. ‘The bullets rained on our heads from everywhere, the suicide bombers were throwing themselves from the windows and detonated themselves in the air,’ he said. It was unclear if the militants were actually jumping into groups of soldiers in vehicles outside the hospital or if, in the mayhem, it merely appeared that the militants were flying at them from all sides.”
The debacle “offered a vivid illustration of how badly the Iraqi military needs advisers,” according to The Times, as the U.S. has been telling them to establish control of roads instead of going into the center of cities. American advisors in the country are not working directly with soldiers on the front lines, and would face risks from Iranian-trained Shia militias if they did so.
A politician loyal to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr said some volunteers and militiamen fled to Samarra, where Shia shrines are under threat from the extremist Sunni group.
“They came to me to complain and they told me they were sent without training, equipment or vehicles,” the lawmaker told the Times.
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