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Islamic State denies losing ground in Tikrit
The Islamic State's propaganda arm is working overtime to deny claims in the Iraqi media that the military and Iranian-backed Shiite militias have taken control of several towns outside of Tikrit, and even advanced into the city and seized the police academy. The jihadist group has released statements and photographs from Tikrit in an attempt to disprove the claims that the group has lost ground, but the information is difficult to confirm as the images could be taken from stock footage.
Footage was released yesterday gives credence to the Islamic State's claim that it has not ceded ground, however. In the video, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, Islamic State fighters address specific reports from the Iraq media that it lost the towns of Awja, Ali, Dour, Jilam, and Tikrit's police academy. Below are excerpts from the video, in which different fighters mock the Iraqi media reports while standing in areas they had supposedly lost:
"We are now in the city of Tikrit, in the southern area of Tiktit, in al-Awja village."
"We are here in the center of Tikrit. And here is the al-Shuhada Mosque behind us"
"Now we are in the city of al-'Alim. Here is al-'Alim in the hands of the sons of the Islamic State, in the hands of the soldiers of the Caliphate …"
"Now we are in the academy of Tikrit. They claim in their media that they liberated it. This land has been liberated and Allah mended it."
"You have claimed, as usual, that you stormed the lands of the Sunnis and you have taken Dur, al-Jilam, al-'Alim, Tikrit, and other lands of the Sunnis. By Allah, you have lied."
"We say to your media that slanders and lies that they are in the al-Zuhur and al-Qadisiyya neighborhoods. We are now in the al-Qadisiyya neighborhood and the al-Zuhur neighborhood in the city of Tirkit."
"This is a media station behind me in the city of al-'Alim. It displays a message to the evil liar Hadi al-Ameri. Here we are in the city of al-'Alim."
"We are here in the city of Dur, which the filthy Rawafidh [Shiites] claimed to have taken control."
The current status of of the fighting in and around Tikrit is uncertain. But extreme caution should be used when taking Iraqi military claims of success at face value. The Iraqi military was wildly optimistic about the three previous attempts to take control of Tikrit, and issued statements claiming the city was under its control, only to watch its forces withdraw in defeat.
[Source: By Bill Roggio, Threat Matrix, The Long War Journal, NJ, 05Mar15]
War in Iraq
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