Witnesses: Iraqi forces enter Islamic State-held Tikrit

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Tikrit retake - iraq - updated to include homecoming on june 23
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Witnesses: Iraqi forces enter Islamic State-held Tikrit
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, an Iraqi man walks through rubble after returning to his destroyed home in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew _ the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, a displaced family walks towards their home in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew, the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: People are seen at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: Children flash victory signs at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: People are seen at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: People are seen at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, a displaced Iraqi woman returns to Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew _ the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: People are seen at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: People are seen at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: Children flash victory signs at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, Iraqi security forces check the identity of displaced people re-entering Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew _ the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JUNE 18: People are seen at a checkpoint as they leave Kirkuk for their homes in Tikrit which has been taken back from Daesh, in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 18, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A displaced Iraqi family waits inside their vehicle as they get ready to return home to the city of Tikrit, on June 18, 2015 at a gathering area on the outskirts of the northern city of Kirkuk. Iraqi forces retook the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State jihadist group in April, in Baghdad's biggest victory to date over militants who overran large parts of the country last June. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN IBRAHIM (Photo credit should read MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, displaced Iraqis pass by a damaged house as they make their way back home in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew _ the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, municipal government workers clean up in front of damaged shops in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew _ the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, Abdel Mowgood Hassan shows his nephew's scattered home to an Associated Press team in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew, the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 photo, a man rides a bicycle past shops and buildings in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Civilians are trickling back into Saddam Hussein’s hometown as they look to start anew, the consequences of a year under Islamic State rule conspicuously written on its charred buildings and damaged homes.(AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
Iraqi Shiite fighters and members of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation, pray at a burial site believed to hold victims of a June massacre in which hundreds of army cadets were executed by the Islamic State (IS) group, in the city of Tikrit, on April 4, 2015. The Speicher massacre -- named after the nearby base from which the mostly Shiite recruits were abducted -- stoked widespread anger against IS and helped rally support to battle the jihadists. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
File - This Monday, March 30, 2015 file photo shows a member of the Iraqi security forces running to plant the national flag as they surround Tikrit during clashes to regain the city from Islamic State militants, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
A Shiite militiaman kisses the grave at the site believed to be a mass grave where Islamic State militants killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers when they overran Camp Speicher military base last June, in Tikrit, Iraq, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Friday, April 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Shiite militiaman prays at a mass grave, believed to contain the bodies of Iraqi soldiers killed by Islamic State group militants when they overran Camp Speicher military base last June, in Tikrit, Iraq, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Friday, April 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
An Iraqi Shiite militiaman leaves after visiting a mass grave, believed to contain the bodies of Iraqi soldiers killed by Islamic State group militants when they overran Camp Speicher military base last June, in Tikrit, Iraq, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Friday, April 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
An Iraqi man prays for his slain relative, at the site of a mass grave, believed to contain the bodies of Iraqi soldiers killed by Islamic State group militants when they overran Camp Speicher military base last June, in Tikrit, Iraq, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Friday, April 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
FILE - In this Thursday, April 2, 2015 file photo, Iraqi security forces deploy in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, a day after Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militiamen took control of the city from Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
Iraqi Shiite fighters and members of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation, inspect a burial site believed to hold victims of a June massacre in which hundreds of army cadets were executed by the Islamic State (IS) group, in the city of Tikrit, on April 4, 2015. The Speicher massacre -- named after the nearby base from which the mostly Shiite recruits were abducted -- stoked widespread anger against IS and helped rally support to battle the jihadists. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units enter the presidential palace in Tikrit on April 4, 2015 after a statement by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordering Iraqi forces to oppose vandalism in the city and protect civilians. Abadi also called on 'forces located in Tikrit to arrest everyone who carries out such acts, and preserve properties and facilities in Salaheddin province,' of which Tikrit is the capital. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces patrol the streets of Tikrit on April 4, 2015 after a statement by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordering Iraqi forces to oppose vandalism in the city and protect civilians. Abadi also called on 'forces located in Tikrit to arrest everyone who carries out such acts, and preserve properties and facilities in Salaheddin province,' of which Tikrit is the capital. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces fire a locally made rocket from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces fire a locally made rocket from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces keep watch from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces keep watch from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces gather in the southern entrance of the city of Tikrit on March 29, 2015 during a military operation to retake the northern Iraqi city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Iraqi security forces stands inside a damaged house in the southern entrance of the city of Tikrit on March 29, 2015 during a military operation to retake the northern Iraqi city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces gather in the southern entrance of the city of Tikrit on March 29, 2015 during a military operation to retake the northern Iraqi city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces gather next to a damaged house in the southern entrance of the city of Tikrit on March 29, 2015 during a military operation to retake the northern Iraqi city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 28, 2015 file photo, Iraqi security forces launch rockets against Islamic State extremist positions in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
FILE - In this Friday, March 27, 2015 file photo, Iraqi soldiers watch movements of their enemy at the front line during clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State group extremists in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, March 26, 2015 file photo, Iraqi security forces launch a rocket against Islamic State extremist positions during clashes in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi troops started the final phase of an offensive to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Thursday, a military official said, just hours after the United States launched airstrikes on the Islamic State held city. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
FILE - In this Friday, March 27, 2015 file photo, smoke rises from central Tikrit during clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State group extremists in the city, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. On the ground, the Iraqi troops pressed their push in the city on Friday as fighter planes pounded IS targets from above. Militants holed up in the center of Tikrit fired mortars at the military, slowing its progress despite the new aerial campaign. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
Iraqi security forces attack Islamic State extremists in the streets of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
What's left of late Iraq leader Saddam Hussein's once-lavish grave.
Iraqi Shiite fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units launch rockets towards Islamic state (IS) group's fighters holed up in the centre of the city of Tikrit on March 12, 2015 during a military operation to retake the city led from a suburb, west of the city. Thousands of Iraqi troops and militiamen laid siege to jihadist fighters holed up in Tikrit, wary of rushing into streets littered with bombs and infested with snipers. Tikrit, the capital Salaheddin province, is located 160 kms north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Shiite fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units wait as they take a position in a suburb west of the city of Tikrit on March 12, 2015 during a military operation to retake the city from the Islamic state (IS) group. Thousands of Iraqi troops and militiamen laid siege to jihadist fighters holed up in Tikrit, wary of rushing into streets littered with bombs and infested with snipers. Tikrit, the capital Salaheddin province, is located 160 kms north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Shiite fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units inspect a vehicle that was damaged in a car bomb targeting pro-government forces on March 12, 2015 in a suburb west of the city of Tikrit during a military operation to retake the city from the Islamic state (IS) group. Thousands of Iraqi troops and militiamen laid siege to jihadist fighters holed up in Tikrit, wary of rushing into streets littered with bombs and infested with snipers. Tikrit, the capital Salaheddin province, is located 160 kms north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi Shiite fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units launch rockets towards Islamic state (IS) group's fighters holed up in the centre of the city of Tikrit on March 12, 2015 during a military operation to retake the city led from its western outskirt. Thousands of Iraqi troops and militiamen laid siege to jihadist fighters holed up in Tikrit, wary of rushing into streets littered with bombs and infested with snipers. Tikrit, the capital Salaheddin province, is located 160 kms north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units flash the sign of victory as they take part in a military operation on the western outskirts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad, to retake control of the city from jihadists of the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11 2015. The city, which is the home town of former president Saddam Hussein, is the toughest target for the government troops and allied militias that started winning back lost ground last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation advance into Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad, to regain the city from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11, 2015. Iraqi forces entered a northern neighbourhood of Tikrit, marking a new stage in the operation launched 10 days ago to wrest the city back from jihadists, army officers said . AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi pro-government fighters celebrate as they advance into Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad, during a military operation to regain the city from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11, 2015. Iraqi forces entered a northern neighbourhood of Tikrit, marking a new stage in the operation launched 10 days ago to wrest the city back from jihadists, army officers said . AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces take part in a military operation to retake control of Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad, from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11, 2015. Iraqi forces entered a northern neighbourhood of Tikrit, marking a new stage in the operation launched 10 days ago to wrest the city back from jihadists, army officers said. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Mourners chant slogans against the Islamic State group during the funeral procession of three members of a Shiite group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, who were killed in Tikrit while fighting Islamic militants, in Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribes have joined Iraq's military in a major operation to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)
Iraqi fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units take part in a military operation to take control of Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad, from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11 2015. The city, which is the home town of former president Saddam Hussein, is the toughest target for the government troops and allied militias that started winning back lost ground last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the village of Awja on the outskirts of the city of Tikrit on March 5, 2015, shows a general view of the city of Tikrit. Some 30,000 Iraqi security forces members and allied fighters launched an operation to retake Tikrit, the largest of its kind since Islamic State (IS) group forces overran swathes of territory last June. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias gesture as they take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 4, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteers prepare to launch mortar shells and rockets against Islamic State militant positions outside Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribes have joined Iraq's military in a major operation to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State group, while the U.S. led coalition has remained on the sidelines. (AP Photo)
A member of the Popular Mobilisation unit monitors from his position in the village of Awja on the outskirts of the city of Tikrit on March 5, 2015, movements Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the city of Tikrit. Some 30,000 Iraqi security forces members and allied fighters launched an operation to retake Tikrit, the largest of its kind since Islamic State (IS) group forces overran swathes of territory last June. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view shows the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as Iraqi government forces and allied militias take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 4, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 4, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias gesture as they hold the national flag in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 4, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces and volunteer Shiite fighters, known as the Popular Mobilisation units, gather in the city of Samarra on March 5, 2015, ahead of moving into Tikrit. Some 30,000 Iraqi security forces members and allied fighters launched an operation to retake Tikrit, the largest of its kind since Islamic State (IS) group forces overran swathes of territory last June. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi volunteer Shiite fighter, a member of what is known as the Popular Mobilisation units, gathers in the city of Samarra on March 5, 2015, ahead of moving into Tikrit. Some 30,000 Iraqi security forces members and allied fighters launched an operation to retake Tikrit, the largest of its kind since Islamic State (IS) group forces overran swathes of territory last June. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 3: Iraqi security forces and Shia militias are seen during an operation against to recapture Tikrit city which is under control of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), in Saladin, Iraq, on March 3, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TIKRIT, IRAQ - MARCH 05: Some of the Iraqi security forces and Shia militias rest as others stage attacks against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) members with heavy and light weapons to recapture the Tikrit City, Iraq on March 05, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters carry an injured man as they launch an operation in Saladin Governorate against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces heading from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad drive towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces heading from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad drive towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad head towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Volunteer Shiite fighter, from the Popular Mobilisation units who support the Iraqi government forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group, rests a gun on his lap in the village of Awaynat near the Iraqi city of Tikrit on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June 2014. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad flash the sign for victory as they head towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad flash the sign for victory as they head towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteer Shiite fighters, known as the Popular Mobilisation units, who support the Iraqi government forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group prepare a Howitzer artillery canon in the village of Awaynat near the Iraqi city of Tikrit on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June 2014. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteer Shiite fighters, known as the Popular Mobilisation units, who support the Iraqi government forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group prepare a Howitzer artillery canon in the village of Awaynat near the Iraqi city of Tikrit on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June 2014. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteer Shiite fighters, known as the Popular Mobilisation units, who support the Iraqi government forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group prepare a Howitzer artillery canon in the village of Awaynat near the Iraqi city of Tikrit on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June 2014. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteer Shiite fighters, known as the Popular Mobilisation units, who support the Iraqi government forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group fire a Howitzer artillery canon in the village of Awaynat near the city of Tikrit on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June 2014. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare in Saladin Governorate before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare in Saladin Governorate before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters launch an operation in Saladin Governorate against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare in Saladin Governorate before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare in Saladin Governorate before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters take position as they launch an operation in Saladin Governorate against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters launch an operation in Saladin Governorate against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare in Saladin Governorate before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare in Saladin Governorate before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters launch an operation in Saladin Governorate against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 2, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
SALADIN, IRAQ - MARCH 2 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters launch an operation in Saladin Governorate against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 2, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 2, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 2, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias fire weaponry from a position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 2, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on March 2, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. Iraqi forces tried and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit, a Sunni Arab city on the Tigris river about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO / YOUNIS AL-BAYATI (Photo credit should read YOUNIS AL-BAYATI/AFP/Getty Images)
TIKRIT, IRAQ - MARCH 1 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare at Sedull Udeyim region before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in Tikrit, Iraq on March 1, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TIKRIT, IRAQ - MARCH 1 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare at Sedull Udeyim region before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in Tikrit, Iraq on March 1, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TIKRIT, IRAQ - MARCH 1 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare at Sedull Udeyim region before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in Tikrit, Iraq on March 1, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TIKRIT, IRAQ - MARCH 1 : Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters prepare at Sedull Udeyim region before an operation against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in Tikrit, Iraq on March 1, 2015. (Photo by Ali Mohammed /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces coming from the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad, drive towards al-Dawr area located south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadist positions in and around Tikrit on March 2, 2015, in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces coming from the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad, drive towards al-Dawr area located south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadist positions in and around Tikrit on March 2, 2015, in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteer Shiite fighters, known as the Popular Mobilisation units, who support the Iraqi government forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group prepare a Howitzer artillery cannon in the village of Awaynat near the city of Tikrit on February 28, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadist positions in and around Tikrit on March 2, 2015, in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces coming from the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad, drive towards al-Dawr area located south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadist positions in and around Tikrit on March 2, 2015, in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces heading from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad drive towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Iraqi security forces heading from the city of Samarra north of Baghdad drive towards al-Dawr area south of Tikrit to launch an assault against the Islamic State group (IS) on February 28, 2015. Government forces have attempted and failed several times to wrest back Tikrit -- the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein -- since losing it to IS in June last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi government forces keep watch from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi paramilitary Shiite fighters load a locally made rocket during a military operation to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, as seen from a position on the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows during a military operation by Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, as seen from the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi army officer Abdul Wahab al-Saedi, commander Salaheddin operations, uses a binocular to watch an ongoing operation by Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, as seen from the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows during a military operation by Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, as seen from the southern outskirts of Tikrit, on March 30, 2015. Retaking Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require 'major sacrifices' on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militiamen entered the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit on Wednesday, an official and a witness said, a key test for Iraqi forces in their battle against the Islamic State militants.

The local official in Iraq's Salaheddin province said allied Iraqi forces entered Tikrit through its northern Qadisiyya neighborhood. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief journalists.

Video obtained by The Associated Press showed troops and militiamen marching alongside Humvees flying Iraqi military and Shiite militia flags in that northern neighborhood.

Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin province, lies about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad. It is one of the largest cities held by Islamic State militants and lies on the road connecting Baghdad to Mosul. Retaking it will give Iraqi forces a major supply link to retake Mosul.

U.S. military officials have that said a coordinated military mission to retake Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, likely will begin in April or May and involve up to 25,000 Iraqi troops. But the Americans have cautioned that if the Iraqis are not ready, the offensive could be delayed.

Iraqi forces retook the town of Alam, which borders Tikrit, on Tuesday, sealing off Tikrit to prepare for an offensive inside the city. Hidden bombs and snipers had slowed the troops' progress.

Iranian military advisers have been helping guide Iraqi forces in their advance on Tikrit. Among those directing operations is Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force. The overt Iranian role and the prominence of Shiite militias in the campaign have raised fears of possible sectarian cleansing should Tikrit, an overwhelmingly Sunni city, fall to the government troops.

The U.S. says its allied coalition carrying out airstrikes targeting the extremists has not been involved in the Tikrit offensive.

The Islamic State group holds about a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in its self-declared caliphate.

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