Iraq hailed its biggest military victory over Islamic State, with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi saying security forces had advanced to the center of Tikrit after weeks of deadly battles.
Abadi announced “the liberation of Tikrit” and offered congratulations “on this historic milestone” on his official Twitter account. Iraqi state television showed images of the national flag and jubilant residents.
Iraqi forces, backed by Shiite militias and tribal fighters, pushed into Tikrit, about 87 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, on Tuesday after dislodging militants from southern and western suburbs. They retook government buildings and the Rafidain bank, said Raed Al-Jibouri, the governor of Salahuddin province, where Tikrit is located.