First story, another major milestone in the international fight against the ISIS terrorist group. The Iraqi military says it's kicked ISIS out of the country and regained complete control of Iraq's border with Syria. Both of these nations are significant to ISIS, the name is an acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. And that's what the extremist organization had hoped to establish.
At one point, ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles of land, from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, to some areas south of the Iraqi capital. But after more than three years of fighting and the support of about 25,000 air strikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told his people that their land had been completely liberated, and that ISIS's dream had come to an end.
The U.S. government says it will continue to stand with Iraq, help Iraqis return to their homes and help stabilize the areas that were liberated from ISIS. The scars of war are stretched across Iraq. The United Nations says more than 3.2 million people had to leave their homes because of the conflict. And some of the factors that led to the rise of ISIS remain.
Iraq still faces challenges of poverty and unemployment. There are still tensions over religious and ethnic difference and attacks inspired by ISIS in Iraq and abroad are still a threat.
Possible example of that, what authorities call an attempted terrorist attack in New York City yesterday. At around 7:20 a.m., a man wearing a homemade pipe bomb set it off at a bus terminal near Times Square. Witnesses said there was a lot of chaos after the explosion, with people screaming and running in panic, but no one, not even the bomber was killed. Officials say the explosives didn't fully go off.
Still, three people went to the hospital with headaches and ringing in their ears, and police say the suspect, the 27-year-old man named Akayed Ullah was burned and cut in his hands and abdomen. He was born in Bangladesh and he moved to the U.S. legally in 2011. Police say he told investigators he carried out the attack because of recent actions by Israel in the Palestinian controlled territory of Gaza. A U.S. law enforcement official says that Ullah had pledged allegiance to ISIS and police are investigating that.
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