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Tikrit

From Academic Kids

Tikrit (تكريت, also transliterated as Takrit or Tekrit) is a town in Iraq, located 140 km northwest of Baghdad on the Tigris river (at 34.61N, 43.68E). The town, with an estimated population in 2002 of about 28,900, is the administrative centre of the province of Salah ad Din.

The town is first mentioned in the "Fall of Assyria Chronicle", as being a refuge for the Babylonian king Nabopolassar during his attack on the city of Assur in 615 BCE. Over a thousand years ago, it possessed a fortress and a large Christian monastery. It was renowned as a centre for the production of woolen textiles. Around 1137, the legendary Kurdish leader Saladin was born there; among his many achievements he defended Egypt against the Crusaders, and recaptured Jerusalem in 1187. The modern province of which Tikrit is the capital is named after him. The town, and much of Iraq with it, was devastated in the 14th century by the Mongol invasion under Timur Lenk. In September 1917, British forces captured the town during a major advance against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The town is now perhaps best known for being the birthplace in 1937 of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who frequently liked to compare himself with Saladin. Many senior members of the Iraqi government during his rule were drawn from Saddam's own Tikriti tribe, the Al Bu Nasir, as were members of his Iraqi Republican Guard, chiefly because Saddam apparently felt that he was most able to rely on relatives and allies of his family. The Tikriti domination of the Iraqi government became something of an embarrassment to Saddam and prompted him in 1977 to abolish the use of surnames in Iraq to conceal the fact that so many of his key supporters bore the same surname, al-Tikriti (as did Saddam himself).

2003

In the opening weeks of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, many observers speculated that Saddam would return to Tikrit as his "last stronghold". The town was subjected to intense aerial bombardment and on April 13, 2003 several thousand US Marines aboard 300 lightly armored vehicles converged on the town, meeting little or no resistance. With the fall of Tikrit, U.S. Major General Stanley McChrystal said, "I would anticipate that the major combat operations are over."

During the subsequent occupation Tikrit became the scene of a number of insurgent attacks against the occupying forces. It is commonly regarded as being the northern axis of the notorious "Sunni Triangle" within which the insurgency is at its most intense.

After the fall of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein was sheltered in and around Tikrit by relatives and allies for a period of about six months. During his final period in hiding, he lived just outside the town of ad-Dawr, fifteen kilometres south of Tikrit. He was captured by Coalition forces, primarily the US 4th Infantry Division, on December 13, 2003.

During the 2003 occupation of Iraq, AFN Iraq ("Freedom Radio") broadcast news and entertainment within Tikrit, among other locations.

See also

External links

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