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    Iraqi Forces Launch Major Offensive to Free ISIL-Controlled Tikrit

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    30,000 Iraqi security forces assisted by Shia militias and Sunni tribal fighter are taking part in a major operation to free the city of Tikrit, seen as the largest roadblock on the way to liberating Mosul, the Islamic State's stronghold in Iraq. It is not immediately clear whether US-led international coalition will assist the government forces on Monday.

    The radical Sunni group captured Mosul and Tikrit during its blitz offensive last summer. Iraqi security forces have repeatedly tried to free the hometown of Iraq's toppled leader Saddam Hussein, located some 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Baghdad, but have repeatedly failed.

    Ousting the Islamic State from Tikrit would be a major victory for the government forces.


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