Iraq declares victory over Islamic State group in Tikrit
An injured Iraqi soldier is taken for treatment during clashes with islamic State extremists in Tikrit - AP

TIKRIT: Iraq’s defense minister says security forces have achieved a “magnificent victory” over the Islamic State group in Tikrit.

Khalid al-Obeidi said Wednesday that security forces have “accomplished their mission” in the monthlong offensive to rid Saddam Hussein’s hometown of the militant group.

The U.S. launched airstrikes last week in support of Iraqi ground forces. The battle for Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, is seen as a key step toward eventually driving the militants out of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

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