Iraq’s defense minister said security forces have achieved a “magnificent victory” over Islamic State fighters in Tikrit Wednesday, but a senior defense official told Fox News that the fighting is “block to block, especially in the northern part of Tikrit where ISIS still has fighters.”
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.
“We have the pleasure, with all our pride, to announce the good news of a magnificent victory,” Obeidi said in a video statement. “Here we come to you, Anbar! Here we come to you, Nineveh, and we say it with full resolution, confidence, and persistence,” naming other provinces under the sway of the extremists.
Despite the claim, “Iraqi security forces are still fighting block to block in some cases, particularly in the northern part of Tikrit,” a Pentagon official told Fox News. “This operation is still in the clearing stage.”
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in the region told Fox News that the statement from Obeidi was “probably a little misleading,” but added, “we are confident that Tikrit has been seized from ISIS.”