Shia paramilitaries are ‘out of control’ in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, officials say, as looting and vandalism leaves city ‘burning before our eyes’

Black smoke rises from burning shops

Shia paramilitary fighters looting and setting fire to buildings in Tikrit are ‘out of control’, an official said.

Ahmed al-Karim, head of the Salahuddin provincial council, said the fighters had burnt ‘hundreds of houses’ in the last two days.

It comes as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered Iraqi forces to oppose vandalism in the city of Tikrit, retaken from the Islamic State group this week, and arrest those responsible.

Mr Karim, who left for Baghdad late on Friday afternoon due to the chaos, said houses and shops were being burnt and fighters were stealing everything from inside them.

‘Our city was burnt in front of our eyes. We can’t control what is going on,’ he said.

Security and military forces were ordered to ‘deal with cases of vandalism’ carried out by gangs seeking to tarnish the achievements of government forces and allied paramilitaries, a statement released by the prime minister’s office said…