Iraqi Forces in the Center of Tikrit + Video

Tue Mar 31, 2015 22:10:23

Iraq's security forces have reached Tikrit city centre and raised the Iraqi flag over the provincial government building.

Iraqi troops have retaken neighbourhoods on the southern and western edges of Saddam’s hometown and are moving to control the entire city.

Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, the commander of the Salahuddin operation, said his forces coming in from the west were still 300 metres (325 yards) from the centre of Tikrit.

Street-to-street fighting raged into Tuesday afternoon and estimates on how much of this strategic city on the banks of the Tigris River that Iraqi forces held widely differed.

An Associated Press reporter embedded with Iraqi security forces saw soldiers surround the iconic presidential palace in Tikrit, as well as surround the provincial government headquarters there.

Today Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory Tuesday in the weeks-long battle to retake Tikrit from the ISSI group, Baghdad's biggest operation yet against the terrorists.

Abadi "announces the liberation of Tikrit and congratulates Iraqi security forces and popular volunteers on the historic milestone," his official Twitter account said, referring to allied paramilitaries who have played a major role in the fighting.

And Abadi's spokesman Rafid Jaboori told AFP that: "Iraqi forces reached the centre of Tikrit, raised the Iraqi flag and are now clearing the city."


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