BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's prime minister says he will protect the people living in territories retaken from the Islamic State group from any retribution or rights violations.
Speaking in the northern city of Irbil on Monday, Haider al-Abadi pledged that the "properties and rights" of local residents would be respected in areas where Islamic State militants have been driven out.
Volunteer Shiite militiamen, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, have fought alongside Iraqi army troops and are credited with playing a crucial role in pushing Islamic State militants out of Tikrit and other cities. However the Iranian-backed Shiite militias have also been accused of looting and vandalizing the Sunni towns they have retaken. Al-Abadi admits that dozens of houses and shops were burned in Tikrit.