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Iraqi officials: Families begin returning to Tikrit, where IS was driven out in April

  • In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, children celebrates as a Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier watches while in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG,  captured large parts of the strategic border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State group Monday, dealing a huge blow to the group which lost a key supply line for its nearby de facto capital of Raqqa, a spokesman for the main Kurdish fighting force said.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, children celebrates as a Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier watches while in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG, captured large parts of the strategic border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State group Monday, dealing a huge blow to the group which lost a key supply line for its nearby de facto capital of Raqqa, a spokesman for the main Kurdish fighting force said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, a Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier watches as in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG,  captured large parts of the strategic border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State group Monday, dealing a huge blow to the group which lost a key supply line for its nearby de facto capital of Raqqa, a spokesman for the main Kurdish fighting force said.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, a Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier watches as in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG, captured large parts of the strategic border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State group Monday, dealing a huge blow to the group which lost a key supply line for its nearby de facto capital of Raqqa, a spokesman for the main Kurdish fighting force said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, a Turkish soldier stands on an armoured personnel carrier as in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG,  captured large parts of the strategic border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State group Monday, dealing a huge blow to the group which lost a key supply line for its nearby de facto capital of Raqqa, a spokesman for the main Kurdish fighting force said.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, a Turkish soldier stands on an armoured personnel carrier as in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG, captured large parts of the strategic border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State group Monday, dealing a huge blow to the group which lost a key supply line for its nearby de facto capital of Raqqa, a spokesman for the main Kurdish fighting force said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi officials say families have begun returning to Tikrit two and a half months after security forces backed by Shiite militias drove the Islamic State group out of the northern Sunni city.

Gov. Raed al-Jabouri of Salahuddin province told The Associated Press on Tuesday that around 200 families had returned the day before. Al-Jabouri says more than 1,000 families are expected to return Thursday.

State TV aired footage of security forces guarding busses packed with people, some waving Iraqi flags. Some residents could be seen embracing security forces when they reached Tikrit.

The IS group captured Tikrit last summer during its sweep across the country. Iraqi forces managed to retake it following weeks of intense fighting and U.S.-led airstrikes, marking their biggest gain yet against the extremist group.