ISIL has been occupying vast territories of Salah al-Din since 2014. In March, the Iraqi army launched an anti-ISIL operation in the province, liberating several of its districts, including the regional capital of Tikrit.
"PM [Prime Minister] Al-Abadi meets with military commanders and volunteers near Baiji [northern Iraqi city] and launches phase 2 of operations to liberate Salahuddin province," Abadi said on his Twitter account.
According to media reports, the second stage of the operation is aimed at liberating the rest of the province, including Baiji, a city home to the country’s largest oil refinery.
ISIL is an extremist group that occupies large areas of Iraq and Syria and seeks to establish a caliphate ruled by strict Sharia law on the territory under its control. The group has affiliates operating in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.