Rebels repel Iraqi attempt to retake Tikrit

Residents said there was no fighting in the city on Wednesday morning, four days after Iraqi army assault began.

    Rebels repel Iraqi attempt to retake Tikrit
    The Islamic State group posted images of damaged Iraqi army vehicles [Islamic State group via Twitter]

    Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the rebel-held northern Iraqi city of Tikrit after a new push to retake the city met heavy resistance, soldiers involved in the operation said.

    Government troops and allied Shia volunteer fighters were forced to retreat just before sunset on Tuesday to a base 4km south after coming under heavy mortar shelling and sniper fire, the sources said.

    The attempt to retake Tikrit, which fell to Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State group on June 12, began two-and-a-half weeks ago.

    The failure highlights the difficulties of Baghdad's struggle to recapture territory from the fighters, who seized Mosul, Tikrit and other cities last month in a rapid offensive, the Reuters news agency reported.

    Residents said there was no fighting on Wednesday morning in Tikrit, which lies 160km north of Baghdad.

    It is a stronghold of ex-army officers and loyalists of executed former leader Saddam Hussein's Baath Party who allied themselves with the Islamic State-led offensive last month.

    The Iraqi military had attacked from the village of Awja, about 8km south of the city, and the initial fighting on Tuesday occurred in the southern part of the city. The army retook Awja, the birthplace of Saddam, on July 3.

    There was no word on casualties on either side after the assault on Tikrit, but social media accounts affiliated with the Islamic State group posted pictures appearing to show some the fighters who had died in the battle.

    The social media accounts also claimed to have shot down an Iraqi army helicopter, but that claim could not be verified.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months