Iraqi Forces Retake Government Headquarters in Tikrit
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraqi forces have retaken the Salaheddin provincial government headquarters in Tikrit from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, a significant advance in the battle to recapture the city, officials said Tuesday.
The spokesman for the Badr organization said members of the Popular Mobilization units took part in the fighting, after some froze offensive operations last week in response to US-led air strikes.
"Iraqi forces cleared the government complex in Tikrit," an army major general said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The government buildings have been under our control since last night (Monday)."
It is the most significant advance in Tikrit since Iraqi forces launched an operation to retake the city on March 2, their largest since ISIL led an offensive that overran much of the Iraqi city, AFP reported.
Salaheddin Governor Raad al-Juburi confirmed that the government headquarters had been retaken, saying that Iraqi flags now flew over various recaptured buildings in the city.
Badr spokesman Karim al-Nuri also said that the government headquarters was recaptured, and that Popular Mobilization members fought alongside federal police in the operation.
Since early March, tens of thousands of Iraqi troops, backed by volunteer forces, have launched a massive military operation to retake the city of Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad.
The campaign to recapture Tikrit is the biggest offensive so far against the Takfiri militants. If successful, it would be the first time the army and voluntary forces have recaptured a major city from the terrorist group.