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Iraqi security forces wage airborne attack on militant-seized Tikrit

English.news.cn   2014-06-26 23:29:00
 Iraqi security forces carried out an airborne attack on Tikrit and took control of the city's university.
 • Fierce clashes erupted between the troops and the militants in four nearby villages and al-Qadsiyah district.
• The seizure of the university compound is a vital move by the security forces.

 

TIKRIT, Iraq, June 26 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi security forces carried out an airborne attack on the militant-seized city of Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, and took control of the city's university on Thursday, a provincial police official said.

The attack occurred around noon when army helicopters dropped dozens of soldiers inside the university compound, a strategic location in al-Qadsiyah district and a military base to the northern Tikrit, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The troops first seized the compound without clashes as there were no militants inside, but later fierce clashes erupted between the troops backed by air support and the militants in four nearby villages and the al-Qadsiyah district, the source said.

A woman was killed and two others were wounded by the bombardment on the district, while two of the university teachers were wounded by a mortar round which landed on their homes in the residential area inside the university compound, the source said.

The seizure of the university compound is a vital move by the security forces as it is the first foothold for the troops in Tikrit, the source added.

On June 11, militant groups took control of the city of Tikrit when hundreds of gunmen entered the city during the advance of the Sunni militants, including those who are linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida offshoot.

Salahudin province is a Sunni-dominated province and its capital Tikrit is the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

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WASHINGTON, June 26 (Xinhua) -- An additional four teams of 50 U.S. advisors ordered to help the Iraqi military counter a terrorist threat have arrived in Baghdad, Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren said on Thursday.

U.S. forces in Baghdad have opened the first of two planned joint operations centers in Iraq to assess the security situation in the wake of the rapid territorial gains made by Sunni militants, and the number of American service members there was about 500, Warren said at a press conference.  Full story

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