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Iran Press TV

Iraq army set to launch decisive Tikrit operation: Defense minister

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:31AM

Iraq's defense minister says the Iraqi army and the volunteer forces are set to launch an imminent decisive battle to fully retake the city of Tikrit from ISIL terrorists.

Iraq's Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said on Thursday that the operation to entirely liberate the city, around 160 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, will start later in the day.

He also admired the key role Shia and Sunni volunteer forces play in military operations against the ISIL terrorists.

This is while the Iraqi army backed by volunteer forces is pressing ahead with their operations against the ISIL Takfiri militants in the strategic city.

According to Press TV's correspondent, the Iraqi forces, approaching Tikrit from the western part of the city, managed to retake control of the al-Hayakel area and press ahead with their operation toward the industrial zone of the city.

In the southern part of the city, the Iraqi forces managed to liberate the area of Shishon valley.

In the northern area, the Iraqi forces took control of the al-Tin neighborhood and are advancing toward the al-Qadisiyah neighborhood.

Al-Qadisiyah was under the control of the Iraqi army on Wednesday. However, it was taken by the militants during clashes on Wednesday night, with the army and the volunteer forces trying to retake its control.

The clashes between the ISIL militants and the Iraqi forces are really hard, the correspondent said.

ISIL terrorists, according to the correspondent, use cars full of explosive devises and plant mines in order to defend their positions in the city.

The explosive cars are sent toward Tikrit from the restive province of Anbar and from the northern city of Baiji.

The developments on Thursday come as the Iraqi troops, backed by volunteer and tribal forces, liberated central parts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit with major government buildings retaken from ISIL Takfiri militants on Wednesday.

The offensive for the liberation of Tikirt was launched last week and has involved heavy fighting.

Tikrit was one of the two major strongholds of ISIL in Iraq, the other being Mosul.

The operation includes a combined force of more than 30,000 fighters both from the Iraqi armed forces and volunteers, known as Popular Mobilization forces.

It is the largest operation launched by the government to date and many see it as a prelude to recapturing the northern city of Mosul.

IA/NN/HMV



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