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Iraq said Monday it had put its Tikrit offensive on hold and senior officials called for more airstrikes to dislodge ISIS militants, while a Kurdish officer said his forces were exposed to two further chlorine gas attacks by the insurgents.Gen. Aziz Waisi told journalists the insurgents used chlorine in a December attack on his military police brigade in the Sinjar mountain area, and twice during a January offensive west of Mosul, including a Jan. 23 attack described by Kurdish authorities Saturday.Powerful militia commander Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Shiite paramilitary Badr Organization, said earlier in the offensive that militia victories before the Tikrit battle had been won without coalition air support.Taking part in the operation, which began two weeks ago, are more than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shiite militia, supported by a relatively small contingent of Sunni fighters from Tikrit and the surrounding Salahuddin province.The militants have been driven back by Kurdish peshmerga forces in the north, and Shiite militia known as Popular Mobilization units in the eastern province of Diyala, the Baghdad belt and north of the capital.
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