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Iraqi town celebrates victory over Islamic State

The Iraqi army, with the help of local tribes and the pro-Iran Badr Brigades, drove out the Islamic State from Dhuluiya, a town north of Baghdad.
Shi'ite fighters take part during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Balad, north of Baghdad December 22, 2014. Picture taken December 22, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY CONFLICT) - RTR4J3PC

DHULUIYA, Iraq — To reach Dhuluiya, a town north of Baghdad, we had to cross the Tigris River by boat. For the Iraqi government and its allies, the journey was much more difficult. They had to crush the Islamic State (IS), the de facto ruler of the area since July 2014.

“We lost 127 men from our town in the fight against Daesh [IS],” said Khalid, a fighter from the Jobour tribe, which fought alongside government forces and Shiite militias. “From the first day they entered this town, everything changed. Our life became hell, so we decided there’s no option but to kick them out.” As Khalid spoke to Al-Monitor, hundreds of fighters in military and civilian cars paraded down Dhuluiya's main street, chanting, firing weapons and dancing. On the sides of the street, women and children stood clapping and smiling to celebrate the end of the IS era in their town.

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