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Iran Press TV

Iraqi forces clear most of Tikrit from ISIL militants

Iran Press TV

Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:25PM

Iraqi government forces supported by Shia and Sunni volunteer fighters have managed to clear most parts of the northern city of Tikrit from Takfiri ISIL militants as they press ahead with a major offensive aimed at retaking the strategic city from the terrorists.

On Sunday, joint Iraqi forces continued to hold out a great portion of the city, which is located 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad.

About 75 percent of Tikrit is now in government control, while the other 25 percent is in the hands of tens of ISIL militants, according to Main al-Kadhimi, a commander of the Popular Mobilization units.

Shia forces have been working with Iraqi troops as well as Sunni fighters to regain Tikrit. They have been making progress in recent days, forcing ISIL Takfiris to retreat toward the city center from frontline positions.

Reports coming out of Iraq suggest that the army and volunteer forces have stopped the offensive for the time, and are awaiting the arrival of backup troops.

Tikrit, the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, fell to ISIL in June last year.

The city is one of the major strongholds of the ISIL terrorists, and its recapture is crucial for the Iraqi army in its ongoing quest to wrest control of the country's second-largest city, Mosul, situated some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of Baghdad, from the Takfiri group.

ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country's Sunni Arab heartland.

Iraqi army soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen have been cooperating in joint offensives against the terrorists.

MP/HJL/SS



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