Holding on to Baghdad.

Iraq’s security forces were able to halt the advance of Sunni Islamist militants north of Baghdad Saturday as thousands of Iraqi Shiites stood in line to join up with militias of their own.

However, the militants of the Al Qaeda splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) appeared to be holding onto two key cities captured from Iraqi forces earlier this week.

A police source in Baghdad confirmed to Fox News that a car bomb in Tayran Square in central Baghdad exploded before 12:00 local time Sunday, killing nine people and wounding 22 others.

Fighting was also reported outside the town of Tikrit, less than 90 miles north of Baghdad. The Wall Street Journal reported that Iraqi soldiers are using the town of Samarra, about 10 miles south, as a jumping-off point for an assault that would re-take Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, from ISIS. The Journal also reported that ISIS fighters were using Saddam’s well-reinforced presidential palaces as bases of operations as they fought with security forces in the southern parts of the city.

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