Iraqi security forces and Shi’ite paramilitary fighters hold an Islamist State flag, which they pulled down in Tikrit, March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
(Reuters) – Iraqi troops aided by Shi’ite paramilitaries have driven Islamic State out of central Tikrit, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Tuesday, but the fight to retake all of Saddam Hussein’s home town continued.
Government forces have been in a month-long fight for the city, which became a bastion for the Sunni jihadists who are at war with Baghdad and have been targeted by U.S.-led air strikes.
Hundreds of insurgents ready to fight to the death are still holed up in Salahuddin province’s capital city and at least three neighborhoods remain under Islamic State control, along with a palace complex in the city’s north.
The further Iraqi forces push into the city, the greater the risk of ambushes.
“Our security forces have reached the center of Tikrit and they have liberated the southern and western sides and they are moving towards the control of the whole city,” Abadi said in a statement.
In their push from southern Tikrit, security forces and paramilitary fighters retook the governor’s headquarters and the main hospital which had been occupied by Islamic State…