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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
PHOTO: Greater Manchester Police
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
(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

New: US will keep "advising, training, and equipping" Iraqi Security Forces, official says

3.2 million people have been displaced in the fight against ISIS, the United Nations reports

(CNN) —  

The Iraqi military has “fully liberated” all of Iraq’s territory of “ISIS terrorist gangs” and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, it said Saturday in a statement.

“Our heroic armed forces have now secured the entire length of the Iraq-Syria border,” Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on his Twitter account. “We defeated Daesh (ISIS) through our unity and sacrifice for the nation. Long live Iraq and its people.”

ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, rapidly captured large territories in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in 2014. The group controlled more than 34,000 square miles of territory from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad.

The campaign to eradicate the Islamic State took more than three years and about 25,000 coalition airstrikes. Iraqi forces have increasingly been pushing ISIS out of the country over the past few months. Troops last month retook the town of Rawa, one of ISIS’s last footholds in the country. At that point, only pockets of ISIS resistance remained.

Al-Abadi later in a televised speech lauded the victory.

“Dear Iraqis, your land has been completely liberated, and your towns and villages have been returned to the homeland,” he said. “The dream of liberation became a reality.”

“ISIS dream has come to an end,” he added. “We must remove all its effects and should not allow terrorism to return again.”

ISIS remains a threat

ISIS’ rise and the world’s military response has created a devastating crisis for civilians and led to the displacement of more than 3.2 million people, according to the United Nations.

“Our people have paid a high price for its security and stability and the blood of its finest youth, men and women,” Al-Abadi said. “Millions of families have suffered the hardships of displacement.”

The underlying conditions that allowed for the rise of ISIS, such as sectarian and ethnic divisions and a lack of economic opportunities, remain potent issues in the region. ISIS began as an insurgency group and could return to its roots, and jihadi groups like al Qaeda could grow.

In addition, although ISIS no longer controls territory in Iraq, the threat of violence from members of the group is not over. As it has lost territory over the past year or so, ISIS has morphed into more of an ideological threat, both in the region and in the West.

“Despite the announcement of the final victory, we must remain vigilant and ready to face any terrorist attempt targeting our people and our country,” Al-Abadi said. “Terrorism is a permanent enemy and the battle with it continues, and we must preserve this unity, which with it we have defeated ISIS.”

The humanitarian aid group Mercy Corps said it was moving into areas retaken from ISIS to provide support and evaluate long-term needs.

“As humanitarians, we are looking at a different kind of fight, a good fight,” said Deepmala Mahla, Mercy Corps’ country director for Iraq. “The battle for a better future for Iraqis is happening now.”

US salutes ‘historic gains’

The US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS tweeted his support for Abadi’s declaration and said the coalition would remain to assist the Iraqis.

“We congratulate the Prime Minister and all the Iraqi people on this significant achievement, which many thought impossible,” Brett McGurk wrote.

“We honor the sacrifices of the Iraqi people, its security forces, and the Kurdish Peshmerga, and admire the unity in their ranks that had made this day possible,” McGurk added. “That spirit must be renewed and continue as Iraq works to consolidate these historic gains over the coming year.

“Our @coalition will continue to stand with #Iraq to support its security forces, economy, and stabilization to help ensure that #ISIS can never again threaten Iraq’s people or use its territory as a haven,” he wrote. “We mark today’s historic victory mindful of the work that remains.”

The US State Department applauded the Iraqi announcement but said its work is not over, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“The United States, along with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, will continue to partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, advising, training, and equipping them. Together, we must be vigilant in countering all extremist ideologies to prevent the return of ISIS or the emergence of threats by other terrorist groups,” she said.

The US has contributed nearly $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance and committed more than $265 million in stabilization assistance to Iraq since 2014, Nauert’s statement said, adding that those investments and other work have helped get more than 2.7 million Iraqis back to their homes.

“Working ‘by, with, and through’ the Government of Iraq, we will continue to help our displaced Iraqi friends return to their communities and support them as they begin to reestablish their lives,” she said. “We remain committed to standing with the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people to stabilize areas liberated from ISIS control.”

CNN’s Ryan Browne, Kevin Bohn and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.