Iraqi soldiers, backed by volunteer forces, have liberated two areas in the northern strategic oil town of Baiji from the ISIL Takfiri militants, army sources say.
On Friday, Iraqi armed forces “entered the town of Baiji … and moved into al-Sinai and al-Tamim neighborhoods and cleared them,” said Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, the commander of the military units stationed in the area.
Following heavy fighting overnight, the Iraqi forces managed to push into Baiji, located some 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, taking control of the two southern districts.
An Iraqi army major general, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the army operation was interrupted by an ISIL assault on the Iraqi command headquarters at Tikrit University, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
According to the official, three bombers tried to blow up their explosives-laden vehicles at the university, but security forces foiled their attack and killed a number of Takfiri militants.
Iraqi troops have recently stepped up their efforts to clear more territories and retake full control of Baiji from the ISIL terrorists.
Baiji is placed on a main road to the northern city of Mosul, which is controlled by the ISIL extremists, and its liberation can choke off the supply lines of the militants.
The town fell into the hands of the ISIL several weeks ago, but Iraqi forces managed to prevent the ISIL terror group from taking over the Baiji refinery, which is the country’s largest.
The new military operations in Baiji came shortly after Iraqi soldiers successfully drove out the last batch of ISIL Takfiri terrorists from the town of Jurf al-Sakhar, which sits on a major road linking Baghdad to oil-rich provinces in the south.