Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: According to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Iraqi forces have regained control of the formerly ISIS-controlled city of Tikrit. The city was first taken over by ISIS militants last June. After a string of US-led airstrikes, Iraqi forces made their way to the center of the city where they have since raised the nation’s flag atop the Governorate Building. Regaining the city of Tikrit is a major step towards the goal of reclaiming the city of Mosul.

By Hamdi Alkhshali and Jomana Karadsheh

03/31/2015 Iraq (CNN) – Iraqi forces battling to wrest Tikrit from ISIS are now in control of the city, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday on Iraqiya TV.

Al-Abadi, who is also the top military commander, said on state television that the city was liberated.

While al-Abadi has declared victory in the battle, pockets of fighting continues. Iraqi forces and Shiite militias are taking part in clearing operations.

Iraqi forces reached the center of Tikrit and hoisted the nation’s flag on top of the Governorate Building, al-Abadi said. Fighting continued on the outskirts of the city, he added.

Tikrit had been under ISIS control since June.

The push into Tikrit comes days after a series of U.S.-led airstrikes targeted ISIS targets around the city.

The airstrikes made it possible for the Iraqi forces to move through the city. Troops reported finding dozens of roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings as they combed the city.

At a Cabinet meeting before he declared Tikrit liberated, al-Abadi was already calling 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, on a humanitarian level, protecting civilians as much as possible, in addition to the low casualties amongst our security forces,” he said.

Iraqi forces have tried multiple times to win back Tikrit since ISIS conquered the city as part of its campaign to amass an expansive Islamic caliphate but failed until now. This operation, however, was the biggest by the Iraqi military so far.

“We managed to take (ISIS) by surprise,” the Prime Minister said. “And our air force … in addition to coalition air force, helping Iraqi forces, managed to deal severe blows to ISIS and the enemies of Iraq. And our ground forces with the blood of Iraqis, Iraqis alone with their own blood, were able to liberate this land.”

[Full Story]