Iraq claims a rout of rebels in Takrit
Iraq's army has routed Sunni militants in a major offensive on the northern city of Tikrit, state media say.If the reports are accurate this could be a turning point for the al Qaeda affiliated rebels. I suspect the rebels were ill prepared for holding off the tanks and infantry with air support. Combined arms operations usually have an advantage over lightly armed infantry.
State television said the governor's HQ had been recaptured and 60 fighters from the Isis militant group killed.
A spokesman for the rebels confirmed heavy fighting but implied the attack had failed, saying they were pursuing what was left of the army offensive.
The rebels control large swathes of the north and west after lightning raids that captured the second city, Mosul.'Flee or be killed'
On Saturday, thousands of Iraqi troops backed by tanks and air power attacked Tikrit from four directions, state TV said.
It said there had been complete success in clearing Isis from the city, with some militant commanders among the 60 killed. It said the other insurgents there had fled.
State TV said preparations were now being made to move north towards Mosul.
The Iraqi soldiers are being supported in the offensive by allied Sunni tribesmen and Shia militias.
The attack on Tikrit included air strikes that targeted insurgents at a university campus to the north of the city.