Iraqi Military Launches Offensive to Reclaim Tikrit

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Campaign Is the Second Attempt by Iraqi Forces to Retake City From Islamic State.

Some Iraqis displaced by fighting have settled at this camp in Feeshkhabour town, Iraq

The Iraqi military launched a major air and ground offensive early Tuesday to reclaim Tikrit from Islamist militants, who had taken control of the city best known as the hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein, officials said.

Tuesday’s campaign marked the second attempt since July by Iraqi forces to retake Tikrit, which fell to Islamic State fighters—supported by former allies of Mr. Hussein—in early June.

It also appeared to be aimed at redefining the narrative in a nation that saw its U.S.-trained military collapse under the Islamic State assault, with soldiers showing little resistance amid chaotic leadership.

“This was a surprise move and it seems to have been quite effective so far,” said a senior official from the Kurdish Regional Government prime minister’s office. Kurdish officials also confirmed that none of the region’s Peshmerga units were active on the Tikrit front. Kurdish Pershmerga forces, supplied with weapons from the U.S. and other Western nations, have proved to be the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State.

Backed by Iraqi air-force helicopters, troops began their march on Tikrit at about 6 a.m. local time, approaching from south and west of the city, said Lt. Gen. Ali Al-Fariji, operations commander for the region.

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