Iraq is deploying 27,000 troops to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State, in a mission that will test the military’s ability to stage major offensives against the group before trying to capture its stronghold in Mosul.
The state-sponsored al-Iraqiyah television said that paramilitary forces, a term that usually describes Shiite militias, are backing up police and army soldiers. The forces will also seek to liberate other areas in the Salahuddin province, where Tikrit is located.
Iraqi forces have struggled to roll back Islamic State gains since June, when the group routed the military’s northern command to capture Mosul, the north’s biggest city. It seized Tikrit shortly after. In August, the U.S. launched air strikes to support the Iraqi military and Kurdish forces as they sought to regain momentum in the battle.