BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said on Saturday that Iraqi forces have driven the last remnants of Islamic State from the country, three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq’s territory.
The Iraqi forces recaptured the last areas still under IS control along the border with Syria, state television quoted Mr Abadi as telling an Arab media conference in Baghdad.
“Commander-in-Chief @HaiderAlAbadi announces that Iraq’s armed forces have secured the western desert & the entire Iraq Syria border, says this marks the end of the war against Daesh terrorists who have been completely defeated and evicted from Iraq,” the Federal Government’s official account tweeted.
Daesh is the Arabic name for Islamic State.
Several squadrons of Iraqi helicopters flew over Baghdad carrying Iraqi flags at noon, in an apparent rehearsal for a victory parade that Iraq is planning to hold in the coming days.
Senior Iraqi military commander Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah also announced that combat operations against the extremists had concluded.
The US-led coalition that had been supporting Iraqi forces against Islamic State tweeted its congratulations to “the people of Iraq on their significant victory against #Daesh”.
Iraqi forces had captured Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, near the Syrian border, last month.
Mosul, the group’s de facto capital in Iraq, fell in July after a gruelling nine-month campaign backed by a US-led coalition that saw much of the northern Iraqi city destroyed.
Islamic State’s Syrian capital Raqqa also fell to a US-backed Kurdish-led coalition in September.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in 2014 had declared in Mosul the founding of a new Islamic caliphate, released an audio recording on September 28 that indicated he was alive, after several reports he had been killed.
Baghdadi, who is believed to be hiding in the stretch of desert in the border area, urged his followers to keep up the fight despite setbacks.
Passenger bus falls from bridge, leaving 12 dead, injuring 46 in India’s Sitamadhi
PATNA — At least 12 people were killed and 46 others injured on Saturday after a passenger bus carrying them fell from a bridge in India’s eastern state of Bihar, officials said.
A bus carrying over 60 passengers fell off a bridge in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, about 130 kilometres north of state capital Patna, killing 12 persons on the spot on Saturday evening, local media reported.
The accident took place at around 6 pm on the National Highway 77 near Bhanaspatti village under Runnisaidpur area of the district. Police said the bus was heading to Aurai via Runnisaidpur from Muzaffarpur.
Reports said following the accident, some of the witnesses informed police who rushed to the spot along with health teams to carry out rescue operation.
Of the injured, 34 were admitted to the primary health centre (PHC) at Runnisaidpur while 12 were rushed to the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur.Follow @gorkhapost