Iraq officials say last IS-held town liberated

FILE - This Tuesday, July 22, 2014 file photo shows a motorist passing by a flag of the Islamic State group in central Rawah, 175 miles (281 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s Defense Ministry said Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 Iraqi forces have retaken the last IS-held town in the country, more than three years after the militant group stormed nearly a third of Iraqi territory.(AP Photo, File)

BAGHDAD (AP) – The Latest on developments in Iraq (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense says Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led coalition have liberated the last Iraqi town held by Islamic State group.

The ministry said in a statement Friday morning that Iraqi military units and local tribal fighters entered the western neighborhoods of Rawah on the Euphrates River in the western province of Anbar. Officials then announced that forces had taken control of the town.

IS fighters swept across Iraq’s north and west in the summer of 2014 capturing Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul and advancing to the edges of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Later that year the U.S. began a campaign of airstrikes against the militants that fueled Iraqi territorial gains, allowing the military to retake Mosul in July of this year.

FILE – In thisFILE – In this Tuesday, July 22, 2014, file photo, a sign is posted at a checkpoint belonging to the Islamic State group, captured from the Iraqi Army, at the main entrance of Rawah, 175 miles (281 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Arabic reads, “Islamic State, the Emirate of Anbar, City of Rawah.” Iraq’s Defense Ministry said Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 Iraqi forces have retaken the last IS-held town in the country, more than three years after the militant group stormed nearly a third of Iraqi territory.(AP Photo, File)

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11:59 a.m.

Iraq’s Defense Ministry says Iraqi forces backed by the U.S.-led coalition have pushed into the last Islamic State group-held town in the country more than three years after the militant group stormed nearly a third of Iraqi territory.

The ministry says in a statement Friday morning Iraqi military units and local tribal fighters entered the western neighborhoods of Rawah on the Euphrates River in the western province of Anbar.

IS fighters swept across Iraq’s north and west in the summer of 2014 capturing Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul and advancing to the edges of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Later that year the U.S. began a campaign of airstrikes against the militants that fueled Iraqi territorial gains, allowing the military to retake Mosul in July of this year.

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