Iraqi army troops, backed by volunteer forces, have managed to liberate several other areas of the embattled city of Tikrit in the northern province of Salahuddin from the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group, Press TV reports.
On Thursday, the Iraqi security forces recaptured the presidential palace’s complex, the industrial neighborhood as well as general and military hospitals in Tikrit.
Reports also said that the Iraqi air force pounded several ISIL hideouts in the center of the strategic city.
“In the early morning, volunteer forces and Iraqi military continued their ground operation towards the city center to cleanse it from ISIL militants. They were able to reach areas as planned and we will soon liberate Tikrit,” Abou Montazar Zaidi (shown above), a member of the volunteer forces, told the Press TV correspondent.
“We first liberated Albu-Ajil and now Tikrit. We will liberate all Iraqi territory as we will soon start out operation in Mosul after Tikrit,” said another Iraqi volunteer fighter.
According to reports, the clashes are still raging on between the Iraqi army and Takfiri elements around Tikrit’s police station.
This is while the ISIL terrorists continue to use explosive-laden cars to target the Iraqi army’s line of defense in a bid to slow down its advances.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials said the ISIL group is killing its wounded members because it cannot treat the injured terrorists.
Earlier this month, some 30,000 Iraqi troops started large-scale operations to recapture Tikrit, which is the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The volunteer forces, which include both Shia and Sunni members, have also joined the operation.
Located some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, Tikrit was overrun by the ISIL terrorists in the summer of 2014 along with Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, and other areas in the Arab country’s Sunni heartland.
Tikrit has a strategic position as it sits on the road to the ISIL stronghold, Mosul.
The ISIL terrorists, many of whom were initially trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. They have been engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.