BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq is marking the anniversary of the 1958 overthrow of the monarchy and recent victories over the extremist Islamic State group with a military parade staged in central Baghdad.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi saluted the parade as fighter-jets, including U.S.-made F-16s, screamed over the city on Thursday. Transport aircraft and helicopters also staged fly-overs.
The parade was held amid tight security, with hundreds of troops and policemen locking down the central Baghdad area.
The celebration comes on the heels of last month’s retaking of the city of Fallujah from IS and ahead of an expected assault on Mosul, the last major Iraqi city still under IS control.
“We will surprise Daesh with new weapons” in the battle for Mosul, Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi told reporters at the parade.