BAGHDAD (Agencies) – Iraq’s armed forces held a military parade in Baghdad yesterday to celebrate the victory announced by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi over the Islamic State group.
Mr Abadi on Saturday declared victory in Iraq’s three-year war to expel the jihadist group that at its height endangered the country’s very existence.
Iraqi army units marched through the main square in central Baghdad as helicopters and fighter jets flew overhead, witnesses said.
The parade was not broadcast live and only state media were allowed to attend.
His announcement comes two days after the Russian military announced the defeat of the militants in neighbouring Syria, where Moscow is backing Syrian government forces.
Mr Abadi had declared yesterday a public holiday after making his announcement, in which he said Iraq had defeated the jihadists “through our unity and our determination”.
The Sunni extremists of the IS seized control of large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, declaring a cross-border “caliphate” and committing widespread atrocities.
Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces gradually retook control of all territory lost to the jihadists over the last three years.
Experts warn that the IS remains a threat, with the capacity as an insurgent group to carry out high-casualty bomb attacks using sleeper cells.