Iraqi pro-government fighters celebrate as they advance into Tikrit, during a military operation to regain the city from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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Iraqi security forces and militias fought their way into Saddam Hussein's home city of Tikrit Wednesday, advancing from the north and south in their biggest counter-offensive so far against ISIS militants.Army and militia fighters captured part of Tikrit's northern Qadisiya district, the provincial governor said, while in the south of the Tigris river city a security officer said another force made a rapid push towards the center.More than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militias known as Hashid Shaabi, supported by local Sunni Muslim tribes, launched the offensive for Tikrit 10 days ago, advancing from the east and along the east bank of the Tigris.After pausing while helicopters attacked ISIS snipers and positions, the ground forces were progressing steadily, taking "one street every 30 minutes," the security official said. He said there was fierce fighting around Tikrit police headquarters just south of Qadisiya.
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