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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


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

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.


CCTV cameras 'not working' where Nemtsov was killed

The four CCTV cameras on the bridge near the Kremlin where Boris Nemtsov was murdered were all not working on the night he was killed it has been claimed.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates is in Moscow:

Islamic State leaders 'playing Jihadi John like a piano'

A former Islamic State fighter who met now-notorious British jihadist Mohammed Emwazi in Syria has revealed the violent extremist was "strange" - and said IS leaders were "playing him like a piano".

A defector from the militant group, Abu Ayman told the BBC that Emwazi would actively ignore his fellow Brits who had also travelled to join the fight.

He was cold. He didn't talk much. He wouldn't join us in prayer. He'd only pray with his friends ... the other British brothers prayed with us, but he was strange.

The other British brothers would say 'Hi' when they saw us on the road, but he turned his face away. The British fighters were always hanging out together, but he wouldn't join them.

Some love him. Some joined Isis after watching and admiring him; they take him as an example.

ISIS play him like a piano. He's a celebrity to attract our Muslim brothers in Europe but some think he is showing off; they think he's being used by ISIS.

– Abu Ayman, former Islamic State fighter

Jihadi John 'was bullied in school', headteacher claims

The Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John was bullied as a teenager in school, his former headteacher has revealed.

Jo Shuter, who ran the Quintin Kynaston academy in London where the fighter - whose real name is Mohammed Emwazi - attended, also said she had no idea when he was radicalised.

Emwazi's former headteacher said he was bullied as a teenager Credit: NBC/Al Rai

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she described him as a "quiet, reasonably hardworking young person."

He had adolescent issues... particularly at that age - year nine, particularly the boys, is a time when the hormones start raging, and he had some issues with being bullied which we dealt with.

By the time he got into the sixth-form he, to all intents and purposes, was a hardworking aspirational young man who went on to the university that he wanted to go to.

– Jo Shuter, headteacher

She said he was not particularly sociable and did not have a big group of friends, and said she had been horrified when she learned of what he was up to now.

I can't even begin to say the shock and the horror that I feel.

Even now when I'm listening to the news and I hear his name I feel the skin on the back of my neck stand up because it is just so far from what I knew of him and it is so shocking and so horrendous the things that he has done.

– Jo Shuter, headteacher
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