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Iraq Launches Offensive Against ISIS

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP Photo via militant website)
This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP Photo via militant website)

Backed by allied Shiite and Sunni fighters, Iraqi security forces today began a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit from the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State.

The offensive is seen as a major step in a campaign to reclaim a large swath of territory in northern Iraq controlled by ISIS.

Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, fell into the hands of the militant group last summer, along with the country’s second-largest city of Mosul and other areas in the country’s Sunni heartland, after the collapse of national security forces.

Tikrit is one of the largest cities held by the Islamic State, or ISIS, and sits on the road to Mosul. s Jeremy Hobson speaks with BBC correspondent Ahmed Maher, who is in Baghdad.

Note: This BBC interview can be heard in the Here & Now podcast or with the WBUR app.

Guest

  • Ahmed Maher, BBC correspondent in Baghdad. He tweets @a_maherpress

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