"Government troops and allied Shi'ite volunteer fighters retreated from Tikrit before sunset on Tuesday to a base four km (2.5 miles) south after coming under heavy mortar and sniper fire, a soldier who fought in the battle said.
Residents said there was no fighting on Wednesday morning in Tikrit, which lies 160 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad. It is a stronghold of ex-army officers and loyalists of executed former dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party who allied themselves with the Islamic State-led offensive last month.
Tuesday's military attack was launched from Awja, Saddam's birthplace some 8 km (5 miles) south of the city, but ran into heavy opposition in the southern part of the city.
Pictures published on Twitter by supporters of the Islamic State showed a fighter holding a black Islamist flag next to a black armored car it said had been abandoned by a military SWAT team, as well as vehicles painted in desert camouflage - one of them burnt out - which it said retreating troops left behind." Reuters
We wrote here some time back that the Iraqi "Army" would have one major opportunity to conduct a counter-offensive to the north and that if that failed they were finished as a force and would not be able to establish the Iraq government's authority north and west of Baghdad. They have now failed in that attempt and Iraq is effectively partitioned unless Iran, Turkey or some other regional power intervenes massively. All the baloney in the world about "soft power" is not going to change the situation. At the same time the unstable cooperation between; ISIS fanatics, Sunni tribals and nationalist soldiers from Saddam's army will soon start to break up. IMO the soldiers and the tribesmen will eliminate ISIS in Iraq. This may take some time but it will happen. pl
" Israeli experts predicted overland raids to destroy command bunkers and tunnels that have allowed the outgunned Palestinians to withstand air and naval barrages on Gaza and keep rockets flying." CBC
Hamas has offered Israel a ten year truce (hudna). This is a relgiously sanctioned temporary cease fire contingent on; release of prisoners whom the Israelis earlier released in an exchange and then re-arrested. Hamas also wants the borders of Gaza opened and an end to the naval blockade. The Israelis don't want peace with Hamas. They want to destroy the group so that they can continue to dominate the non-peace process farce. Therefore, there is no chance of the Israelis accepting such an offer and Hamas knows this.
Nevertheless, the Izzies are in the "hurt locker." They are locked into their own bluster concerning the terrible things they are going to to do to Gaza if the Gazans do not abandon Hamas politically. So far, it appears that the Gazans blame Israel, not Hamas for their predicament. The pro-zionist US media are eagerly waiting for some sign that such a shift is happening but, alas, it does not seem to be so.
In the absence of that development, Israel's internal politics is driving it toward a decision to begin to conduct ground operations. This will probably begin as more raids against Hamas and Islamic Jihad sites. These will, of course, be defended and there will be IDF casualties. Failures like the naval commando raid this week will lead to demands for larger operations.
At the same time it is now reported in the Israeli press that ISIS is recruiting in Gaza. pl