Iraqi forces have taken control over the city of Tikrit after reclaiming a government province that had been occupied and used as the Islamic State head quarters since June last year.
Prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Tuesday that the city was liberated. Although victory has been declared by the prime minister, who is also the top military commander, there are scattered fights continuing, with Iraqi forces and Shiite militas taking part in the clearing operations.
The government’s victory against Islamic State is a major progression in Tikrit since the operation to reclaim the city was launched on March 2.
This movement comes days after the United States led air strikes targeting Islamic State around the city of Tikirt. The air strikes allegedly made it possible for Iraqi forces to move through the city with the troops confirming many roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings were found.
Prime minister Haider al-Abadi, prior to declaring Tikrit’s liberation, had already called the operation a success. “The success of the Tikrit experiment will be repeated in other areas because of the results it has achieved on the battlefield,” he said .
Iraqi forces had tried numerous times to reclaim Tikrit but failed. The victory in Tikrit is expected to pave the way for Iraqi forces attempting to take back Mosul. – Greta Levy
Top photo from Foreign and Commonwealths office Flickr photostream.