Iraqi PM raises flag at border crossing taken from IS

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, directly beneath flag, and others raise the national flag at a border crossing with Syria days after Iraqi forces retook it from the Islamic State group, in Qaim, far western Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Osama Sami)

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi raised on Sunday the Iraqi flag at a border crossing with Syria days after Iraqi forces retook it from the Islamic State group, state TV announced.

Al-Iraqiya TV said al-Abadi visited the newly-liberated town of Qaim and the nearby Husaybah border crossing in western Iraq. Both sit along what was once an important supply route used by IS when the group controlled large areas in Syria and Iraq.

Iraqi forces backed by the U.S.-led coalition drove IS from Qaim and surrounding areas last week, in what coalition officials said marked the end of the conventional war against the extremist group in Iraq.

The militants are expected to rely more on insurgent-style attacks now that they no longer hold significant territory.

Elsewhere, two suicide bombers on foot struck near a Shiite mosque in the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, killing a civilian and wounding 16 others, said Interior Minister spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of IS which has previously claimed responsibility for such attacks.

The ethnically-mixed city Kirkuk is the country's largest contested city claimed by Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds. The bombing is the first since Iraqi federal security forces took over the city from Kurdish region-run troops last month in the wake of a controversial independence vote.

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