Iraq's war against Islamic State has ended, commander says

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Iraq has said that its war on the Islamic State is over after more than three years of combat operations drove the extremists from all of the territory they once held.

The Iraqi military has "fully liberated" all of Iraq's territory of "ISIS terrorist gangs" and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, it said Saturday in a statement. It also retains natural hideouts in the deep gorges of Wadi Hauran, Iraq's longest valley stretching from the Saudi border up to the Euphrates River and the frontiers with Syria and Jordan.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has said that his country's war against Islamic State (IS) militants has come to a successful conclusion.

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

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. He urged his followers to keep up the fight despite setbacks.

The US-led coalition that has been supporting the Iraqi forces against Islamic State welcomed the news in a tweet. The group controlled more than 34,000 square miles of territory from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad.

In Iraq, the group confronted mainly US-backed Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and Iranian-trained Shi'ite paramilitaries known as Popular Mobilisation.

Over the following weeks Iraqi forces continued to clear patches of the country's vast western deserts.

Last month Iraqi forces captured Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, near the Syrian border.

"We congratulate the Prime Minister and all the Iraqi people on this significant achievement, which many thought impossible", Brett McGurk wrote.

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