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Iraqi forces liberate last IS-held town in the country in lightning offensive Open in fullscreen

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Iraqi forces liberate last IS-held town in the country in lightning offensive

Iraq's army predicted it would be a swift battle to recapture Rawa [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 November, 2017

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Iraq's army said it has retaken the last town in the country held by Islamic State group, hours after launching the offensive on Rawa.

Iraqi forces said they have recaptured the last town in the country still held by the Islamic State group on Friday, hours after launching the offensive.

Government troops and paramilitary units "liberated the whole of Rawa and raised the Iraqi flag on all of its official buildings," General Abdelamir Yarallah of the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

Baghdad's army announced the start of the operation to retake the small Euphrates valley town at dawn on Friday.

An Iraqi army general predicted that the battle for Rawa would be swift as "the majority of IS fighters who were in the town have fled towards the Syrian border".

The Rawa pocket marks the final battleground defeat of IS in Iraq.

Many of the group's top leaders have been killed as Syrian and Iraqi forces with backing from Russia, Iran and a US-led coalition rolled back the territorial losses that saw the militants declare a "caliphate" roughly the size of Britain.

The US-led coalition said on Thursday IS had lost 95 percent of its territory seized in 2014.

The Iraq Report is a weekly feature at The New Arab.

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