Video shows Kurdish forces destroying Isis truck as they close in on Tikrit

Iraqi troops and militia could launch an offensive on Saddam Hussein's home city on Wednesday

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The Independent Online

Dramatic footage from the frontline in Iraq shows the moment Kurdish forces blew up an alleged Islamic State truck as Iraqi troops and militia close in on the city of Tikrit, the home city of Saddam Hussein.

The truck was reportedly being driven by an Isis fighter and video shows the vehicle lumbering its way across the desert before it is hit by gunfire and eventually completely destroyed. The video, filmed on Monday, has not been independently verified.

Kurdish forces began attacking Isis militants near Kirkuk on Monday and by Tuesday they had driven the Islamic extremists out of the town of al-Alam.

The town's mayor, Laith al-Jubouri, told Reuters by telephone: "I announce officially that the town is under the total control of security forces, the Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) units and local tribal fighters.

"We rejoice in this victory and we want al-Alam to be the launchpad for the liberation of Tikrit and Mosul."

A Reuters photographer reported that families had returned to al-Alam celebrating and slaughtering sheep for the fighters that had freed the town of Isis' presence. The fighters were helped in the conquest by US-led airstrikes. The US military said four strikes near Kirkuk had destroyed fighting positions, buildings, vehicles, a heavy machine gun and a potential car bomb.

Tikrit is now the focus of an offensive by the anti-Isis coalition of the Iraq army and Shi'ite militias, backed by local Sunni forces. These forces now control the two towns to the north and south of Saddam Hussein's birthplace.

Reuters reported that the attack to reclaim Tikrit could begin on Wednesday. The city in northern Iraq was seized by Isis last June and the possible capture of Tikrit would make it the first city to be reclaimed from the Islamic militants in the country.

Additional reporting by Reuters.