Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the victory of his country’s military and militia forces against ISIS forces in Tikrit on Tuesday March 31, stating that they are now in control of the city centre.

Irak-Armee

Prime Minister al-Abadi said: “I announce the liberation of Tikrit and congratulate Iraqi security forces and volunteers for their decisive victory.”

AFP reports that Iraqi forces have taken control of government buildings in Tikrit.

On March 2, Iraqi forces began the operation to reclaim Tikrit, which was taken by ISIS forces last June.

Karim Nouri, the head of Shia militia forces, also confirmed the news, stressing that the success of the operation was helped by volunteers from United Militia Groups (UMG), which are comprised mostly of pro-Iraqi government Shia militia groups supported by Iran and police units in the region.

The U. S.-led coalition forces only began air strikes on Tikrit on March 25, which has been criticized by UMG forces. They say the U.S. is trying usurp the victory in Tikrit that volunteer forces fought for so dearly in the past month.