The capture of Ramadi, capital of mainly Sunni-Muslim Anbar province in the Euphrates River valley West of the capital, deprives Islamic State militants of their biggest prize of 2015.

After encircling the city for weeks, the Iraqi military launched a campaign to retake it last week, and made a final push to seize the central administration complex yesterday.

State television broadcast footage of troops, Humvee vehicles and tanks advancing through Ramadi streets amid piles of rubble and collapsed houses. Some districts appeared to have been completely destroyed by the advance.

Television also showed nighttime celebrations in mainly Shi'ite cities south of Baghdad for the victory in Anbar, with people dancing in the streets and waving Iraqi flags from cars.

Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, swept through a third of Iraq in June 2014 and declared a 'caliphate' to rule over all Muslims from territory in both Iraq and Syria, carrying out mass killings and imposing a draconian form of Islam.

Its rise was aided by the swift collapse of the Iraqi army, which abandoned city after city, leaving fleets of armoured vehicles and other American weapons in the fighters' hands.

Since then, the battle against the group in both countries has drawn in most global and regional powers, often with competing allies on the ground in complex multi-sided civil wars.

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