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Iraq's PM Says Tikrit Retaken; Resistance Remains, US Asserts

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tours the city of Tikrit after declaring that it had been retaken from Islamic State militants by security forces, April 1, 2015.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, declaring victory over Islamic State in the strategic city of Tikrit, said Wednesday that his government was "determined to liberate every inch of Iraqi land."

Abadi walked through the streets of the city Wednesday, calling the recapture of Tikrit a "milestone."

Tikrit, Iraq
Tikrit, Iraq

But in Washington, the Pentagon said Iraqi forces were still meeting pockets of resistance from hundreds of militants, adding that the Iraqis controlled the city center and the main government headquarters.

Witnesses said that snipers were hiding on roofs and that they could hear explosions. Iraqi military officials said Islamic State had left booby traps in buildings across the city.

Tikrit is the birthplace of the late dictator Saddam Hussein and is just a two-hour drive from Baghdad. It also is about 225 kilometers north of the militant-controlled city of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

Islamic State seized Tikrit last June. Iraqi forces tried several times to retake the city but failed until receiving help last month from U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and Iranian-backed fighters.​

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