Over 30,000 Iraqi troops and armed militia are currently engaged in a massive assault that began on Monday morning to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit, from the Islamic State militants.
Army, police, counter-terrorism units, a government-controlled volunteer group known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces and local Sunni tribes opposed to Isis are all reportedly participating in the assault against Isis in Tikrit.
The Iraqi forces are also reportedly assisted by fighters jets, helicopters and artillery to "secure the advance and cut supply routes," military sources told AFP.
Iraqi army forces in a military base just north of Tikrit also bombarded Islamic State positions in the city, another source said. While reports have confirmed that warplanes have bombed Isis targets in Tikrit, it is not clear whether US-led coalition members are also participating in the attack.
Tikrit, located 130 km north of Baghdad, was captured by the Isis fighters later in June after the Sunni radical group took over Mosul.
Monday's onslaught against Isis follows several failed attempts to drive the militants out of Tikrit since last June. Nevertheless, the Iraqi troops in recent weeks have seen quite some victories. The troops that have slowly been inching towards liberating Mosul, believe that a success in Tikrit will give Iraq the necessary push to thwart Isis.
Meanwhile, two members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces and one soldier were killed and 35 wounded during the offensive, hospital sources told Al Jazeera.