MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iraqi security forces located several Islamic State jihadist group (IS, or ISIS) sleeper cells in the northern city of Tikrit and killed 130 militants, Ahmed Jubouri, Iraqi Minister of State for Provincial Affairs said, local media reported Friday.
Tikrit had been under ISIL control since June 2014. On March 31, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared victory over ISIL militants in the city.
During the Thursday announcement, Ahmed Jubouri said that local residents displaced by hostilities would not be allowed to return to their homes until the security situation improved.
“After liberating Tikrit city center, we had to address the issue of the improvised explosive devices and the houses and governmental institutions booby-trapped by the ISIS group militants when they controlled the city,” Jubouri said as quoted by Iraqi News.
On Monday, local media reported that one of the leaders of the Islamic State, known as Abu Maria, was killed in a military operation to liberate Tikrit.
ISIL has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria. The group's positions are currently targeted by airstrikes conducted by the US-led international coalition, while Iraqi, Kurdish and allied militia forces are fighting on the ground.
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