A key member of Iraq’s Salaheddin province’s provincial council says Iraqi army ground forces launched a massive attack on ISIL militant stronghold of Tikrit on Monday, marking a major test for the army to clear the area from terrorist groups within next two days.
In an interview with Alsumaria News, the deputy head of the council, Al-Khazraji said that Iraqi army has repelled the ISIL massive attack to the main military base of city and is advancing on the northern part of the city.
The recapture of Tikrit, about 90 miles north of Baghdad and the home town of ousted president Saddam Hussein, would give a boost to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as he struggles to stand against a nearly one-month offensive by extremist militants from ISIL terrorist group.
Al-Khazraji said the main reason behind the slow advances of the army is only about civilians trapped among terrorist groups’ seizure and are facing real danger of being killed in any probable assault by the army troops.
He said at least 20 percent of Tikrit civilians have not left their homes.
According to footages filmed by freelance cameramen, Iraqi military convoy en route from Samarra to Tikrit, hometown of former president Saddam Hussein.
The army says it is sweeping the area of militants as it advances on the city.
ISIL militants captured the city earlier in last month.