Iraqi forces first sought to enter the city on Thursday when special forces were dropped into a university from four helicopters. One helicopter was shot down and another suffered mechanical failure and had to make an emergency leading, resulting in several Iraqis and a Lebanese pilot reportedly being captured by Isis.
Last night, fighting was reported to be continuing at the campus, which had also been targeted by air strikes from helicopter gunships. Iraq state television proclaimed Tikrit's liberation but a tribal leader said much of the city remained in Isis hands, with residents saying its men still patrolled the streets. Black smoke was reported rising from a presidential palace complex.
"Tikrit has become a ghost town," said local man Muhanad Saif al-Din. "The few who remain are afraid of possible revenge attacks by Shia militia who are accompanying the army." He said Tikrit has been without power or water since Friday.
By Oliver Poole
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