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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

Commander of Iraqi forces in key city announces fighting has ceased

Falluja strategically important; sits only 40 miles from Baghdad

(CNN) —  

A senior Iraqi general has announced on state TV that the battle for Falluja is over as Iraqi troops retook the final ISIS holdout in the city.

Lt. General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said the city was liberated Sunday after recapturing the neighborhood of al-Jolan from ISIS. It was the last area of Falluja that ISIS had controlled, he said while standing in the neighborhood.

Over 1,800 ISIS militants were killed during the military operations by the Iraqi forces to recapture the city and villages surrounding it, al-Saadi, commander of the liberation of Falluja operations, told al-Iraqiya TV.

“We announce from the central al-Jolan neighborhood that this neighborhood has been cleaned by the counterterrorism and federal police forces,” he said. “From here we announce to Iraqi people that the battle of Falluja is over.”

CNN cannot independently verify all fighting in every area of Falluja has ended.

David Petraeus: ISIS is on its way to defeat but terrorism threat persists

Civilians suffering

Refugees who had escaped ISIS find themselves languishing in hastily-constructed refugee camps where even the basic amenities are lacking.

“All I want is a tent,” one man told CNN. “I asked God, I asked the government: give me a tent to protect my family.”

Open cesspits and a solitary toilet for over 3,000 people are visible testaments to the wretched conditions these people are enduring. Relief workers and aid groups are doing what they can, but demand far exceeds supply, says Karl Schembri from the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“We escaped from the tyranny of ISIS,” one woman said. “Now we need the Iraqi government to stand with us.”

Despite the complete recapture of Falluja, aid groups stressed that safety is still a concern and urged displaced families not to return home.

“We just do not know which areas are safe and which aren’t; we need a thorough de-mining of civilian areas and safety assessments before civilians are given the option to go back,” said Nasr Muflahi, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Iraq.

“While conditions in camps remain extremely dire, we are not in a position to ensure people will get basic supplies and services in Fallujah,” Muflahi added.

On the back foot?

ISIS appears to be on the defensive across the Middle East – from its self-declared capital of Raqqa in Syria to Falluja, a strategically important city just 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the capital, Baghdad.

In a symbolic victory, troops from the Iraqi Federal Police raised the national flag over the Falluja mayor’s office Friday. The move came nearly four weeks after the start of a U.S.-backed offensive to liberate the city, the last major ISIS foothold in Iraq’s Anbar province.

It’s been a fierce campaign, with fighting taking place street by street. And bombs remain, even if most ISIS fighters have been driven from the city.

Many houses are booby-trapped, forcing Iraqi forces to move slowly and methodically to clear improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

“They don’t leave any house without first rigging it with explosives,” one counterterrorism member told CNN.

Millions driven from Iraq’s tormented lands have nothing to return to

CNN’s Azadeh Ansari and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.