Iraqi forces said yesterday that they had recaptured the last territory held by Islamic State in the country. The prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, hailed the retaking of Hawija and its surrounding villages 40 miles west of Kirkuk after a two-week operation.
“I announce the liberation of the city of Hawija,” he said in Paris, where he had been meeting President Macron. Mr Abadi said it was a victory “not just for Iraq but for the whole world”.
Tribal leaders from the area, which is largely Sunni and has long been a haven of militancy, said that three “lost years” had ended. “This is like cutting the head of the snake,” said one, Amr Nasser. “It was feeding all the lines of resistance in the area. Retaking Hawija also reunified Iraq.”