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Iraqi forces to step up air attacks on rebels

Iraqi government forces have vowed to carry out further air attacks against Sunni Islamist insurgents after obtaining additional fighter jets from Russia.

Shia-led government troops launched a major assault on Tikrit on Saturday, after encircling the northern city. The insurgents fought back with aid from local Sunni tribesmen.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said 5 of the 25 fighter jets the country has bought from Russia were airlifted to Baghdad on Saturday. The Iraqi Air Force commander said the warplanes will be used in operations against rebels in a couple of days.

Iraqi government forces are poised to intensify their efforts to retake territory, including Mosul, the nation's 2nd largest city.

On Sunday, Muslims began one month of fasting for Ramadan. Some people are calling for reconciliation between Shias and Sunnis.

Jun. 29, 2014 - Updated 17:00 UTC