In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteers prepare to launch mortar shells and rockets against Islamic State militant positions outside Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribes have joined Iraq’s military in a major operation to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State group, while the U.S. led coalition has remained on the sidelines. (AP Photo)