Baghdad: The Iraq army said it launched an assault today on the small Euphrates valley town of Rawa, the last in the country still held by the Islamic State group. "Operations to liberate Rawa began at dawn," the Joint Operations Command said in a statement. The launch of the attack as the Syrian army battled for a second day to retake the town of Albu Kamal just across the border.

An army general contacted by AFP at the front predicted that the battle for Rawa would be swift as "the majority of IS fighters who were in the town have fled towards the Syrian border." The US-led coalition battling the jihadists said on Thursday that they had lost 95 per cent of the cross-border "caliphate" the size of Britain that they declared in Iraq and Syria in 2014. (PTI)