Iraq takes back Saddam hometown with Iran’s help: Report

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Iranian troops have helped Iraqi government forces re-take most of the town of Tikrit, the Wall Street Journal reports Iranian security sources as saying.

The source said that two battalions of Iran’s Quds force, the overseas branch of the country’s Revolutionary Guard, helped battle the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in the city.

A combined Iraqi-Iranian force has now taken control of 85% of Tikrit, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces launched at least four air strikes on militants occupying ousted dictator Saddam Hussein’s palace compound in the city of Tikrit on June 12, witnesses told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear whether the strikes against the militants, who took the city a day before, were launched by helicopters or planes.

The sprawling compound in central Tikrit was one of several around the country where Saddam once received foreign guests and dignitaries.

A major offensive by militants, spearheaded by jihadist group the ISIL, has overrun all of one province, major areas of two others and part of a fourth since it began on Monday night.

Tikrit was the second provincial capital to fall to the offensive, following the northern city of Mosul, where it began.

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