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First Iraqi troops enter suburbs of Tikrit in battle over city

The first few Iraqi troops have entered the suburbs of Tikrit - Saddam Hussein's hometown - as an operation to seize back control of the city from Islamic State militants gets underway.

More than 27,000 Iraqi soldiers and Shia volunteers launched a three-pronged attack, firing mortars and exchanging gunfire with the militants at three different locations in the bid to liberate the city.

Forces have exchanged fire Credit: EBU
Iraqi troops have now entered the suburbs Credit: EBU

Becky Watts: Police appeal for sightings of car

Police investigating the disappearance of Becky Watts have appealed for witnesses who may have seen a black Vauxhall Zafira in the "critical time period" when the 16-year-old went missing.

An image released by police of the type of car they wish to trace. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Detectives said they had already seized the vehicle, with the registration plate HY06 HYA, but wanted to piece together its movements between the morning of Thursday 19 February until Monday 23 February.

"The critical time period is from the morning of Thursday 19th February until Monday 23rd February.

"We are, however, keen to speak to anyone who saw this vehicle in the days either side of this."

Police said they were also keen to speak to any previous owners of the vehicle as a "matter of urgency".


Inquiry to look at school over radicalisation questions

A government review will look into the connection between three young men who went on to become jihadist fighters after attending a London school.

Former pupil at Quintin Kynaston academy, Mohammed Emwazi, has been revealed to be the man behind the mask of a violent extremist known as Jihadi John, who appeared in a number of propaganda videos in which he murdered Western hostages.

Quintin Kynaston academy in London Credit: Google Maps

Meanwhile, two other alumni of the school - Choukri Ellekhlifi and Mohammed Sakr - both died in combat in 2013 after joining militant Islamist groups Al Qaeda and al-Shabaab, raising fears the boys may all have been radicalised as teenagers.

Former head at the school, Jo Suter, denied that teachers knew anything about the boys being radicalised, while a Department for Education spokesman said the ability of authorities to monitor possible radicalisation in schools had "advanced hugely" in recent years.

The DfE... [is] working tirelessly to develop our understanding of the problem and to see if and where we can offer help to schools with pupils or former pupils who have since travelled to Syria or other areas of concern.

The Secretary of State has asked them to review those schools where we have evidence of links with pupils who have travelled to Syria. The allegations about Quintin Kynaston may be historic and it is clearly a completely different school today, but I'm sure we will look back at the evidence from the time as part of this review to see if there are any lessons we can learn for the future.

– DfE spokesman
  1. West Country (E)

Police continue to search Barton Hill residence

Police are continuing to search a Barton Hill property in connection with the disappearance of Becky Watts.

Neighbours on Cotton Mill Lane have told ITV News that a couple live in the house with a two-year old girl.

This is one of two properties being searched by police. Credit: ITV News
A police vehicle parked outside the house. Credit: ITV News
The media have gathered as the search for the teenager intensifies. Credit: ITV News

Russia tells UN Nemtsov killing was 'heinous crime'

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the main UN human rights forum that the murder of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov was a "heinous crime" and that President Vladimir Putin was leading an investigation to bring perpetrators to justice.

He addressed the Geneva forum shortly before US Secretary of State John Kerry and after the foreign ministers of Croatia and Slovakia voiced concern at the killing in Moscow on Friday.

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