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>> Iraqi forces celebrate coming a step closer to eradicating Islamic State. The country's prime minister on Thursday declared the military has liberated the town of Hawija, ousting the militant group from its last stronghold in northern Iraq. Footage released by Iraqi police shows troops walking through a nearby village, greeting and dancing with residents who have been living under Islamic State since 2014.
> Thank God we've got rid of daesh. We've been waiting for this day for three years.>> The United Nations reported up to 78,000 people were trapped in the area. And Iraq launched its offensive in mid-September. Hundreds of civilians were seen fleeing the town as the assault entered its final days, mainly women and children.
Fighting still rages in a pocket to the north and east of the town where the militants are reportedly surrounded. The only area of Iraq that now remains under IS control is a stretch along the western border with Syria. But that too is shrinking as two different forces advance.
Islamic State's cross-border caliphate effectively collapsed in July, when the group's de facto capital in Iraq, Mosul, was captured after a grueling battle lasting nine months.