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Iraq PM Haider al-Abadi visits recaptured Ramadi

The city was on Monday liberated by the Iraqi forces from the so-called "Islamic State" group. Abadi congratulated his forces, who were still sweeping the devastated streets and buildings for bombs and booby traps.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday flew down to Ramadi, a day after the capital city of Anbar province was liberated by the government forces from the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) group in a landmark victory.

Iraq's military forces

hoisted their national flag

over the strategic government compound in the city center on Monday after inflicting a crucial defeat on the IS militants, who have brought large swathes of Iraqi territory under their control in the past two years.

Emboldened by the successful campaign to liberate Ramadi, which government forces lost in May, the Iraqi PM on Monday

vowed to free the whole country

from insurgent control by the end of 2016. He said the liberation of Mosul would be the final blow to the militant organization.

Abadi arrived by helicopter in the ravaged city, which is located about 100 kilometers west of Baghdad. He congratulated the security forces, who were still sweeping the devastated streets and buildings for roadside bombs and booby traps and hunting down retreating jihadists.

The victory is a vindication of sorts for Abadi, who was criticized at home for not taking the help of the powerful Tehran-backed Shiite militia groups that played a crucial role in liberating cities such as Tikrit and Baiji and instead relying on the US-led coalition to do the job.

ap/jil (AFP/Reuters)

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