Iraqi Forces to Begin “Fateful” Battle in Tikrit: DM
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraq’s Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi announced on Thursday that Iraqi troops and voluntary forces are preparing for a very crucial battle as part of a major offensive to fully retake the city of Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad, from the ISIL terrorists.
There will be a fateful battle today between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists, al-Obeidi told al-Iraqiya TV.
Security sources in Salahuddin said that the government forces have cleansed 25 villages in northeast of Tikrit from the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iraqi media reports quoted the tribal council of Salahuddin province as saying that the army and voluntary forces have retaken 90 percent of Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad, from the ISIL terrorist group.
Iraqi forces are continuing to advance toward the center of Tikrit after they completely surrounded the city.
The Tikrit Military Hospital was one of the latest key installations re-captured from ISIL fighters on Wednesday.
In the last few days, Iraqi forces have captured several towns on the outskirts of the birthplace of former dictator Saddam Hussein, including al-Alam and al-Dour.
The battle over Tikrit is crucial for Iraqi forces in their advance towards Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, which is controlled by ISIL.
Tikrit serves as an important stronghold of ISIL and is situated on the main highway leading to Baghdad.