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Sunday 29 March 2020
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Iraq launches attack to retake Tikrit from Islamic State

Iraq launches attack to retake Tikrit from Islamic State

Iraq’s armed forces, backed by Shi’ite militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad on Monday as they launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin.

The offensive is the biggest military operation in the province since the Sunni Islamist radicals seized swaths of north Iraq last June and advanced toward the capital Baghdad.Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the start of the Salahuddin operations on Sunday during a visit to the government-held city of Samarra, where some of the thousands of troops and Shi’ite militia had gathered for the offensive.

The pace of their progress in Salahuddin will affect plans to recapture Mosul further north. A U.S. official said the assault on Mosul, the largest city under Islamic State control, could start as early as April but Iraqi officials have declined to confirm that timetable.In Salahuddin, Islamic State fighters control several strongholds including Tikrit, hometown of executed former president Saddam Hussein and other Tigris river towns.


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