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Islamic State’s last stronghold in northern Iraq falls

Iraqi forces have captured Islamic State’s last stronghold in northern Iraq, the military said on Thursday, leaving the militant group holed up in pockets of land by the Syrian border, across which its self-proclaimed “caliphate” once stretched.

The town of Hawija and the surrounding areas were captured in an offensive carried out by U.S.-backed Iraqi government troops and Iranian-trained and armed Shi‘ite paramilitary groups known as Popular Mobilisation.

Some fighting continued to the north and east of the town where the militants were surrounded.

With the fall of Hawija, which lies near the Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk, the only area that remains under control of Islamic State in Iraq is a stretch alongside the western border with Syria, where the militant group is also in retreat.

BAGHDAD (Reuters)

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