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Iraq Declares Victory Over IS in Tal Afar


FILE - Smoke billows as Iraqi forces advance towards Al-Ayadieh village, the last remaining active front line near Tal Afar, during an operation to retake the city from the Islamic State (IS) group on August 29, 2017.

Iraq's prime minister has declared victory over Islamic State in the city of Tal Afar and the entire province of Nineveh

"Our happiness is complete, victory has arrived and the province of Nineveh is now entirely in the hands of our forces," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement.

In a statement, the U.S.-led coaltion congratulated Iraqi forces but warned that "dangerous work remains" to remove explosive devices and find any IS fighters in hiding.

"Following their historic liberation of Mosul and now a swift and decisive victory in Tal Afar, the ISF have shown, once again, they are an increasingly capable force that can protect the Iraqi people, defeat ISIS within Iraq and secure the country's borders," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. and Coalition forces, using an acronym for IS. "This is yet another significant achievement for the Iraqi Security Forces and the government and people of Iraq."

The offensive on Tal Afar, which lies between Syria and 80 kilometers west of the former Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, began on August 20.

Tal Afar was one of the last Iraqi areas held by IS, following the July liberation of Mosul.