Iraqi forces are battling to dislodge the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Tikrit, some 160 kilometers north of Baghdad. Armed and trained by the United States, the troops failed to take back the city from the Sunni militants last week.
Local residents said a battle raged on Monday. Helicopters hit ISIL positions overnight.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 families have taken refuge in a camp for internally displaced people in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province.
They arrived after fleeing fighting near Baqouba about 50 kilometers northeast of the capital.
ISIL, also known as ISIS, has alarmed regional and world powers by claiming universal authority over lands they seized across Syria and Iraq during the last month.