The Iraqi government says security forces are battling the last remaining pockets of Islamic State (IS) militants in the city of Tikrit, north of Baghdad.
Interior Minister Muhammad Salim al-Ghabban said on April 1, “Most of Tikrit is liberated today,” adding that he expects them to gain full control of the city "within the coming hours."
He spoke from the front line in Tikrit a day after the Iraqi army and police reached the city center.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on March 31 that the advancing forces were supported by Iraqi and U.S.-led air strikes as well as fighters from Shi'ite militia groups and Sunni tribes.
Government forces have been in a monthlong fight for the hometown of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, which IS fighters seized in June 2014 during a rapid advance across northern and western Iraq.