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Baghdad Says Last IS-Held Town In Iraq Liberated

A banner is placed at a checkpoint belonging to the militant group Islamic State at the main entrance of Rawa on July 22, 2014.

Iraq's Defense Ministry says Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition have liberated the last Iraqi town under the control of extremist militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The ministry said in a statement early on November 17 that Iraqi military units and local tribal fighters advanced into western neighborhoods of Rawa on the Euphrates River in the western province of Anbar.

Officials then announced that Iraqi government forces had taken control of the town.

The development comes more than three years after the militant group advanced across large swathes of northern and western Iraq to seize control of nearly one-third of Iraqi territory.

During the summer of 2014, IS fighters captured Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul and advanced to the edges of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Later in 2014, the U.S.-led coalition began a campaign of air strikes against IS militants that fueled territorial gains by Iraqi government forces, allowing Iraq’s military and allied militia fighters to retake Mosul in July of this year.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP