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Baghdad Military Parade Celebrates Victory Over Islamic State

A member of the Iraqi Federal Police waves an Iraqi flag as he and his comrades celebrate victory against Islamic State militants in western Mosul on December 9.

Iraq’s armed forces have held a military parade in the capital, Baghdad, to mark the victory announced by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi over the extremist group Islamic State (IS) following a three-year campaign.

Abadi and senior commanders of the security forces attended the December 10 parade in central Baghdad, with helicopters and fighter jets flying overhead.

The prime minister announced on December 9 that Iraq was "completely liberated" from the IS group and that Iraqi troops were now in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The Iraqi government, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition, launched a campaign against the IS group after the extremists seized about one-third of the country in the summer of 2014.

Iraqi forces last month recaptured the last town controlled by IS militants near the Syrian border and continued operations to clear areas of Iraq's western deserts in the ensuing weeks.

The U.S. State Department on December 9 welcomed the end of the "vile occupation" of Iraq by IS militants while warning that the group continues to present a threat.

On December 7, the Russian military declared it had accomplished its mission of defeating IS in neighboring Syria, where Moscow has been backing Syrian government forces.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa