0859 GMT February 16, 2019
The commander of the First Regiment of Popular Mobilization units in al-Karma district, Colonel Juma al-Jumaili, said joint Iraqi forces recaptured the al-Janabeen district and took back the police station in the area of Dhira’a Dijla, located 22 kilometers (13 miles) east of Fallujah, on Sunday, Iraq’s al-Sumaria satellite TV network reported.
Al-Jumaili further noted that 25 Takfiri ISIL terrorists were killed and five vehicles belonging to the militants were destroyed during operations.
The development comes as Iraqi government forces supported by Shia and Sunni volunteer fighters are preparing to wrest control of the entire strategic northern city of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad, from ISIL terrorists.
About 75 percent of Tikrit is now in government control, while the other 25 percent is in the hands of tens of ISIL terrorists, according to Main Al-Kadhimi, a commander of the Popular Mobilization units.
Reports coming out of Iraq suggest that the army and volunteer forces have stopped the Tikrit operation for the time being pending the arrival of backup troops.
Tikrit, the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, fell to ISIL in June last year.
The city is one of the major strongholds of the ISIL terrorists, and its recapture is crucial for the Iraqi army in its ongoing quest to retake control of the country’s second-largest city of Mosul, situated some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of Baghdad.
ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland.
Iraqi army soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen have been cooperating in joint offensives against the terrorists.