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Iraqi forces to recapture Tikrit within a week


Baghdad: Iraqi forces are expected to retake Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein within a week.
Currently, Tikrit is under the control of IS militants who captured the city in last June.
An official of the Shia militia brigades fighting alongside government forces said that about 70% of Tikrit town is still under IS supremacy.
According to him street-to-street fighting might be required for the total liberation of Tikrit
Days before, soldiers and militiamen had retaken key sites including a hospital and police headquarters.
As per the report from Tikrit sources, the sound of artillery and small arms firing could be heard only a few kilometers away from the city center.
A commander of the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade told that pro-government forces were planned to surround areas under the IS control and then to concentrate on attacks, enabling them to drive the IS fighters from their respective positions.
Several hundred militants are believed to be holding out in Tikrit.
The pro-government forces which fight against IS militants includes about 3,000 Iraqi troops, 20,000 Shia militiamen and a much smaller force of Sunni tribesmen.
Earlier, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obedi told that recapturing of Tikrit could be a turning point in the ongoing battle against IS.
According to him Tikrit is a stepping stone to other IS-held areas, including Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq.
But it is reported that the Iraqi troops are being held back from the city center by roadside bombs and booby-trapped cars.
Anti-government Sunnis loyal to Saddam’s Baath party were in collaboration with the militants when they captured a huge swathe of Iraq, including Tikrit, last June.
Meanwhile, the large role of Iranian-backed Shia fighters in the battle for Tikrit has raised fears of vengeance against the Sunni population in Iraq.
US officials are said to be concerned about the reports that Shia militias are setting fire to buildings during their onward movement to Tikrit.


Video on Iraqi forces movement to recapture Tikrit