TEHRAN, YJC.-- Iraqi army troops and volunteer forces have gained full control over the embattled city of Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi announced.
Security and volunteer forces as well as tribesmen seized full control of Tikrit, Obeidi was quoted by Alsumaria news channel as saying on Saturday.
In the last few days, Iraqi forces have also captured several districts on the outskirts of Tikrit, the birthplace of former dictator Saddam Hussein, including al-Alam and al-Dour.
Earlier on March 10, a security source in Salahuddin province announced that the Iraqi forces had launched a major offensive to recapture the strategic city of Tikrit from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.
Iraqi sources say ISIL snipers and booby traps installed by the terrorists are the main obstacles to the Iraqi troops’ progress.
The battle over Tikrit is crucial for Iraqi forces in their advance towards Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, which is controlled by ISIL.
Tikrit used to serve as an important stronghold of ISIL and is situated on the main highway leading to Baghdad.
The ISIL terrorists now control parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. They have been engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.