Iraqi PM announces liberation of al-Qaim in western Iraq

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BAGHDAD, Nov. 4 – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday announced the full liberation of the city of al-Qaim near the border with Syria from the Islamic State (IS) militants.

A statement by the premier’s office said Abadi, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, “congratulated the people of Iraq for the liberation of al-Qaim by the heroes.”

A separate statement by the Hashd Shaabi said that Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a leader of the Shiite-dominated paramilitary brigades, congratulated the Iraqi people for the liberation of the city if al-Qaim and the Husaibah border crossing from Daesh (IS group) militants.

“The defeat of Daesh today is the harshest and most important defeat since the start of the confrontation, as Daesh has actually ended in Iraq after being defeated in the most important point (al-Qaim) that Daesh originally spread from towards the northern and western cities like Mosul and Ramadi in the summer of 2014,” Muhandis said.

Earlier in the day, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, Commander of Liberation of West Anbar Operations, said in a statement that the Iraqi army, Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces, paramilitary brigades of Hashd Shaabi and Sunni tribal fighters broke into the areas of Se’da, Karabla and Husaibah, which are part of the city of al-Qaim.

On Oct. 26, the security forces initiated their advance towards the last urban IS stronghold in Iraq near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Meanwhile, the troops also made a significant progress toward the IS-held city of Rawa, about 80 km east of al-Qaim, and took positions outside the southern edges of the city.

Later, the troops will continue to clear the vast rural areas and desert in north of the Euphrates River. The IS militants seized large swaths of territory in Iraq in 2014. After three years of battles, the Iraqi forces have retaken most of the occupied areas from the terrorist group, including the country’s second largest city Mosul.

(Copyright Xinhua, received from National News Agency)

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