An estimated 30,000 Iraqi troops clashed with ISIS terrorists on Tuesday in a battle for the hometown of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit.

Government-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribal fighters have been  struggling to retake the symbolic city from ISIS, which grabbed control last summer, the Associated Press reported. Tuesday’s fighting, though bloody and peppered with roadside bombing campaigns, was largely unsuccessful for Iraq’s troops.

“The army, federal police, Popular Mobilization (volunteer) units and the  sons of Salaheddin’s tribes are performing the duties of liberation in the  largest operation against Daesh since June,” one senior army officer on the  ground said, Agence France-Presse reported. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The officer also said, “We are certain of victory … but the operation is  not easy,” he said, AFP reported.

The Tuesday campaign included several warplanes – but none belonging to the United States or coalition forces, the Pentagon reported.

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