Iraq announced Saturday that the country's war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is over after more than three years of fighting. He was speaking with five Iraqi flags and dozens of servicemen from different branches behind him. I pay tribute to the Iraqi security forces for their courage and sacrifice. More than 5,000 American troops are now based in Iraq, in addition to military trainers from Britain, Italy, Australia and other countries.
Hakim al-Zamili, who leads Parliament's security and defense committee, estimates that 20,000 hard-core supporters of the Islamic State remain in the country, hidden among the large groups of displaced people or in remote areas of the western deserts.
Iraq's prime minister formally declared victory over ISIS in his country on Saturday after three years of devastating conflict that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 4 million.
"Daesh's dream is over and we must erase all its effect and not allow terrorism to return".
The news comes just a day after Iraq announced a new drive against the jihadi group which appears to have been successful. "Despite announcing final victory, we must remain vigilant and prepared against any terrorist attempt on our country, for terrorism is an eternal enemy". About 3.2 million people remain displaced, a United Nations statement said on Saturday.
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Baghdadi is believed to be hiding in the stretch of desert in the border area. At first, some of those Iraqis were willing supporters of the insurgent force, in large part because of the years of sectarian violence and abuse they had experienced from Iraq's Shiite-majority politicians.
The ministry also wryly noted that over the course of more than three years of activity by the US -led coalition, it only recently had managed to deliver its first blows against the Islamic State group in Syria in the form of the "mass bombing of Raqqa and its civilians".
Still, the prime minister said the state should have a monopoly on the use of arms.
"Weapons should only be in the state's hands".
The central government in Baghdad is in conflict with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government after the latter unilaterally held an independence referendum in September. "The unity of Iraq and its people is the most important and greatest accomplishment", he said.