Iraq’s interior minister says most of Tikrit is liberated, fight goes on

AP Photo
The Associated Press

(Reuters) – Iraqi troops and Shi’ite paramilitary fighters were battling Islamic State on Wednesday in northern Tikrit, which officials described as the Sunni Muslim militant group’s last stronghold in the city.

With officials touting victory in a month-long battle, state television said Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi was visiting the city, which the Islamist militants captured last June as they seized most of Iraq’s Sunni territories.

Security forces were fighting to clear the last Islamic State stronghold, the northern neighbourhood of Qadissiyah, Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban told reporters in the city.

“Most of Tikrit today is liberated, only small parts remain (outside our control). We will give you the good news in the next few hours after eliminating the pockets that are still in the city,” Ghabban said.

The city’s streets were completely abandoned, and buildings scarred by gunfire.

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