Baghdad launches aerial attack on Tikrit
Salaheddin province Governor Ahmed Abdullah Juburi told AFP that "dozens" of government soldiers flew into the city via helicopter to take on the Sunni militants who are currently in control of the city.
Thursday's helicopter offensive represents the first time that Baghdad has used helicopters to transport troops directly into battle since the start of the Sunni militant offensive earlier this month.
Sunni militants, led by the jihadists Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, have managed to take control of areas in five of Iraq's provinces in less than three weeks, inlcluding Tikrit.
Tikrit and its main university are considered strategic due to their location en route to the town of Baiji as well as a military base. Tikrit is also the hometown of former executed dictator Saddam Hussein.