The Star Early Edition
Iraqi PM raises flag on border area freed from IS
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi yesterday raised the Iraqi flag on a border crossing with Syria two days after the Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) militants.
A statement by his office said that Abadi visited the Iraqi forces at the newly-freed city of al-Qaim and the nearby Husaibah border crossing in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.
Abadi hailed the Iraqi forces during the ceremony of raising the Iraqi flag, saying “without your sacrifices, this achievement would not have been achieved”, according to the statement.
Abadi walked around the streets of al-Qaim and met the citizens after the liberation of the city and nearby areas, it added.
On Friday, Abadi announced the full liberation of al-Qaim from IS and congratulated the people of Iraq on the latest accomplishment of the security forces.
Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of the liberation of West Anbar operations, said the Iraqi army, Counter-Terrorism Service forces, paramilitary brigades of Hashd Shaabi and Sunni tribal fighters broke into the city of al-Qaim and liberated it and the Husaibah crossing.
On October 26, the security forces initiated their advance towards the last urban IS stronghold in Iraq near the Iraqi-Syrian border. The troops also made significant progress towards the IS-held city of Rawa, 80km east of al-Qaim, and took positions outside the city.
Later, they will continue to clear the vast rural areas and desert 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, including the country’s second largest city Mosul. – Xinhua