Iraq holds military parade to celebrate victory over Islamic State
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Iraq holds military parade to celebrate victory over Islamic State

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declares Sunday a public holiday as experts warn IS sleeper cells can still carry out high-casualty bombings

Iraqis wave the national flag at the Tahrir Square in the capital Baghdad on December 10, 2017, during a military parade to mark the end of a three-year war against the Islamic State group. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)
Iraqis wave the national flag at the Tahrir Square in the capital Baghdad on December 10, 2017, during a military parade to mark the end of a three-year war against the Islamic State group. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq’s armed forces held a military parade in Baghdad on Sunday to celebrate the victory announced by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi over the Islamic State group.

Abadi on Saturday declared victory in Iraq’s three-year war to expel the jihadist group that at its height endangered the country’s very existence.

Iraqi army units marched through the main square in central Baghdad as helicopters and fighter jets flew overhead, witnesses said.

The parade was not broadcast live and only state media were allowed to attend.

Abadi had declared Sunday a public holiday after making his announcement, in which he said Iraq had defeated the jihadists “through our unity and our determination.”

The Sunni extremists of IS seized control of large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014, declaring a cross-border “caliphate” and committing widespread atrocities.

Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces gradually retook control of all territory lost to the jihadists over the last three years.

Experts warn that IS remains a threat, with the capacity as an insurgent group to carry out high-casualty bomb attacks using sleeper cells.

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