Iraqi forces launch major offensive to retake Tikrit
Iraqi forces are attempting to retake control from Islamic State militants. (AFP/File)
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Iraqi government forces have launched a major operation to retake the troubled northern city of Tikrit from terrorists.
Iraqi officials said the army offensive backed by thousands of volunteers began early Tuesday to retake the volatile city.
Back in June, Iraqi forces made a similar attempt in vain to liberate the city after it was conquered by the militants.
The new operation comes just a few days after the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces took control of the strategic Mosul Dam, as well as a few nearby villages.
Meanwhile, UK-based rights group Amnesty International says ISIS militants have kidnapped up to 3,000 women and girls from the Izadi community in northern Iraq over the past two weeks.
Donatella Rovera, the Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, said the kidnappings took place in villages east of Mount Sinjar, where people have taken up arms against the ISIS terrorists.
The ISIS militants launched attacks against Yazidi Kurds on August 3, pushing thousands of people out of their villages near the country’s border with Syria. Survivors fled to Mount Sinjar, where they were besieged for several days.
Analysts say the new Iraqi government will have to deal with an unprecedented offensive led by the ISIS terrorists who have seized parts of the country's north and west.
The ISIS terrorists have been committing heinous crimes in the areas they took, including the mass execution of civilians as well as Iraqi army troops and officers.
Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga have begun retaking the areas from the ISIS.