Iraqi Army Gradually Takes Control of Tikrit
 The forces were backed by the Shiite militia group al-Hashid al-Shaabi which made advances inside al-Qadesiya district in northern Tikrit, Omar Shindah, Tikrit's local government official, said.

Shindah said the forces also seized control of a hospital in Tikrit, adding that the Wadi Shishin in southern Tikrit, al-Sena’i neighborhood in western Tikrit and some areas in the northern part of al-Qadesiya area were also now in their command.

The forces entered al-Qadesiya neighborhood a few days back, but only managed to control large parts of it Wednesday, the official added.

Also, Marawan Naji, spokesman of Saladin's provincial senate, said that areas of eastern Saladin province, from al-Fatha bridge to Baghdad provincial border, including al-Alam, Albu Ajil, Samra, al-Dour, al-Mujamma al -- Sakani and al-Julam, were now free.

Iraqi forces backed by Shiite militias also seized control of al-Alam on Monday evening and al-Dour town Friday, which were strategic towns near Tikrit.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias launched a ground offensive against terrorist ISIL on March 2 to recapture Tikrit city, aiming to approach the ISIL stronghold of Mosul. Tikrit, a Sunni-majority city, was the birthplace of the deceased Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein.

Clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIL have been ongoing since June 2014 when the armed group seized Mosul and other territories in Iraq.

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