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Iraqi army launches offensive to recapture town

Baghdad: Iraqi security forces Saturday launched a major offensive to recapture the city of Tikrit which was seized by militants earlier this month, a security source said.

Dozens of military vehicles, backed by tanks, armoured vehicles and helicopters advanced from four directions towards the city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, the source told Xinhua.

The main attack was launched from areas near the city of Samarra, some 50 km south of Tikrit, but the security forces were stopped by Sunni militants in an area near the town of Dijla, some 25 km south of Tikrit, the source said.

The militants have booby-trapped the buildings and all the roads leading to Tikrit to hamper the troops from advancing further.

Iraqi aircraft carried out intensive air strikes in and around the city of Tikrit, targeting militants hideouts.

On June 11, militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group had taken control of the city of Tikrit, the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein.