The US-led military coalition has begun airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Tikrit, helping Iraqi forces fighting alongside Iran-backed Shi’ite militia on the ground.
The decision to give air support to the Tikrit campaign represents the biggest collaboration so far between the various forces fighting the jihadist group, Reuters noted.
A US defense official was quoted as saying that American warplanes and aircraft from allied nations were striking up to a dozen targets in Tikrit, selected after coalition surveillance flights.
Tikrit was seized by Islamic State in the first days of their lightning strike across northern Iraq last June.
If Iraq’s government retakes Tikrit, it would be the first city wrested from the Sunni insurgents and will give Baghdad momentum to recapture Mosul, the largest city in the north, the report said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraqi forces will prevail with the support of “friendly” countries and the international coalition, including arms, training and aerial support.
“We have opened the last page of the operations,” Abadi was quoted as saying on state television.
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