Iraqi forces stopped their offensive on militant-held Tikrit after encountering heavy resistance, Reuters reports. Government troops launched the assault two and a half weeks ago after the city fell to Sunni extremists on June 12. There was no fighting reported on Wednesday after Iraqi forces retreated Tuesday evening.
According to Reuters, Tikrit is a stronghold for loyalists of the former dictator Saddam Hussein. Only 100 miles from Baghdad, it is considered a strategic city in the battle against Islamic State militants.
Iraq has been struggling to combat a recent Sunni insurgency that has forced thousands of civilians to flee . Militants from the Islamic State currently control large swathes of territory in Iraq and have declared an Islamic caliphate.