Iraq declares end of war against terrorists
Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi has announced the defeat of "Islamic State" after months of fighting to uproot the militant group. But European authorities have warned that its ideology still remains a threat to global security. ''Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh. Our enemy wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won through our unity and our determination. We have triumphed in little time,'' Deutsche Welle quotes the minister as saying in the article Iraq declares 'end of war' against 'Islamic State'.
Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah, a senior Iraqi military commander, issued a similar statement, saying the country's military had liberated "all Iraqi lands."
Rise of the 'caliphate'
IS rose to notoriety in 2014, when it captured large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, culminating in the sacking and occupation of Mosul. In June that year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the militant group's leader, announced the creation of a so-called caliphate from a historic mosque in Mosul. Shortly afterward, the militant group launched terrorist attacks across the globe, striking European capitals such as Berlin, Paris and Brussels while recruiting sympathizers to join their cause in the region and abroad.
Long road to end terror
Over the past year, a US-led coalition against IS dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve has helped partners in Iraq and Syria, including the Iraqi military and Kurdish-led forces, to uproot the militant group from its stronghold. Earlier this year, Iraqi-led forces backed by Shiite militias and Kurdish forces, ousted the group from Mosul, while in Syria, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias drove IS from its de facto capital, Raqqa. "In conjunction with partner forces, [the coalition] defeats ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and sets conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability," the coalition said in a tweet on Saturday.
Despite a series of major victories against IS in the Middle East, European authorities have warned that the group still presents a threat to security in the EU and the West. In October, the head of Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country's domestic intelligence agency, warned of the threats posed by foreign fighters as well as "children, socialized by Islamists ... returning to Germany from a war zone." Europe can expect IS and those inspired by its jihadist ideology to continue attempts at carrying out terror attacks on European soil, according to Europol's EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report published in 2017.