Video obtained by Reuters shows Shi'ite militia making advances in parts of Tikrit as they battle Islamic State militants. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Shiite militias take the fight to Islamic State militants near Tikrit. The video, obtained by Reuters, shows fighters loyal to Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as they move to reclaim ground. They are aiming to secure the area around Samarra just outside Tikrit, where the Shiite muslims have sacred shrines. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED FIGHTER WITH SARAYA SALAM BRIGADE SAYING: ''We came to protect our sacred shrines, upon orders of our leader Moqtada al Sadr. We liberated the areas here, fiver kilometers by five kilometers by five kilometers in order to achieve a protective zone to protect the shrines. '' With help from the U.S., Iran, and Kurdish forces -- Shi'ite militia forces are beating back Islamic State militants who overran most Sunni Arab areas in northern and central Iraq nearly three months ago. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to deliver an address Wednesday on the U.S. strategy "for degrading and ultimately destroying" the group. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is to travel to Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the coming week for talks with Gulf leaders to determine whether they are prepared to back up their anti-jihadist rhetoric with action.