Saddam’s tomb demolished in battle to control Tikrit

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The once-luxurious tomb of former Iraqi-dictator Saddam Hussein was reduced to rubble last week amid heavy fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants over control of the city of Tikrit.

The Al-Awja Religious Compound, which housed the body of Saddam Hussein, was reduced to rubble amid intense fighting. Shia militia said they had been hampered by bombs and booby traps planted around the tomb by the jihadists.

The Islamic State said last August that Saddam’s tomb had been destroyed, but the Iraqi authorities said at the time that the tomb had only suffered minor damage.

Saddam Hussein’s body had reportedly been removed from the tomb last year.

The Islamic State had been in control of Tikrit since seizing it last June. Two weeks ago 30,000 Iraqi troops and 20,000 Iran-backed Shia militia fighters began a campaign to recapture the city.

Iraqi troops and Shia militia said on Friday that they planned to reach the city centre of Tikrit within 48 hours before advancing to Mosul, although recent reports suggest the advance had stalled.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Location of Tikrit on map
2. Number of Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shia militia fighters in Tikrit
3. Saddam Hussein’s tomb before demolition
4. Fighting between Iraqi forces, Shia militia fighters and Islamic State jihadists
5. Iraqi forces’ plan to recapture Mosul after Tikrit

VOICEOVER (in English):

“The Islamic State had been in control of the Iraqi city of Tikrit since seizing it last June.”

“Two weeks ago 30,000 Iraqi troops and 20,000 Iran-backed Shia militia fighters began a campaign to recapture the city.”

“The Al-Awja Religious Compound, which housed the body of Saddam Hussein, was reduced to rubble amid the intense fighting. Shia militia said they had been hampered by bombs and booby traps planted around the tomb by the jihadists.”

“Iraqi troops and Shia militia said on Friday that they planned to reach the city centre of Tikrit within 48 hours before advancing to Mosul, although recent reports suggest the advance had stalled.”

SOURCES: Time, BBC
http://time.com/3745455/saddam-hussein-tomb-tikrit-fighting-isis-iraqi-shia-militia/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-31901568