BAGHDAD (AP) - Fighting is reportedly still taking place on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit between military units and insurgents from a militant group inspired by al-Qaida.
The militants effectively took control today of the city, the hometown of Saddam Hussein. The move came a day after they had taken control of much of the city of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest. The move into Tikrit expanded their offensive closer to the Iraqi capital.
Residents of Tikrit who were reached by phone say the militant group has taken over several police stations. An official in nearby Samarra says several hundred gunmen are in Tikrit.
In Mosul, meanwhile, the Sunni militants have gained entry to the Turkish consulate. According to an official in the Turkish prime minister's office, they are holding 48 people captive, including diplomats, police, consulate employees and three children.
An estimated half-million residents have fled Mosul.