The Iraqi army, backed by Shiite militias, is continuing their push into Tikrit. File photo
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Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – Subsequent to fierce battles against militants of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS), the Iraqi army supported by the Shiite militia of the Popular Mobilization Forces was able to control large parts of the Qadisiyah area in the city of Tikrit (180 km northwest of the capital Baghdad), Iraqi military sources reported on Wednesday.
The Iraqi forces also took control of the town of al-Alam north of Tikrit after fierce clashes with the radical group.
The governor of Salahuddin province in central Iraq, Raed al-Jubouri, said in a statement on Wednesday that the Iraqi government forces backed by the Shiite militias were able to purge most of the Qadisiyah area (the largest district in the city of Tikrit) of IS terrorists.
Al-Jubouri added that the government troops were also able to control the village of as-Samra northeast of Tikrit, in addition to tightening its grip on the town of al-Alam.
Local military sources reported heavy fighting in the vicinity of Tikrit, pointing out that government forces couldn’t make significant progress in the southern and western suburbs of the city.
“The landmines planted by IS terrorists prevented government forces from advancing in the western suburbs, while the U.S.-led international coalition’s warplanes continued bombing IS strongholds there,” an Iraqi officer told ARA News on the condition of anonymity.
“IS jihadists blew up a vital bridge over the Tigris River, which may delay the progress operations in the western parts of Tikrit,” the source said.
At least five members of the government forces were killed in recent fighting in Tikrit, while 19 others were wounded, according to medical sources in the war-torn city.
Noteworthy, the city of Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, has been under IS control since June 2014. The Iraqi government –with the help of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces– has mobilized approximately 200,000 fighters in the area to regain control of the city.
Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri
Source: ARA News