Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Iraq PM Haider al-Abadi declares Mosul victory over 'Islamic State'

Iraqi commander says 300 ISIS fighters holed up in Mosul Iraqi military's victory over ISIS in Mosul expected today
Lillian Steele | 10 July, 2017, 00:54

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in Mosul, the city that was considered the last stronghold of the terrorist organization in Iraq.

Nizal acknowledged that many of his men were among those who fled the city when IS forces seized Mosul in 2014 in a humiliating defeat for the Iraqi armed forces.

The offensive on Mosul's Old City began on June 19, after government troops regained control of the other districts in the city in previous months.

Eight months of fighting has devastated much of Old Mosul, including the landmark 850-year-old Grand al-Nuri mosque and its leaning 45-meter minaret that jihadists recently blew up.

Iraq launched the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS in October.

- March 12: A United States envoy says Iraqi troops have cut all roads into western Mosul, trapping remaining IS fighters inside.

It is nearly exactly three years since the ultra-hardline group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a "caliphate" spanning Syria and Iraq from the pulpit of the medieval Grand al-Nuri mosque. "Now we are in Mosul, the east part was liberated, and there's only a small part left in the west".

After months of fighting, the Iraqi army officially recaptured Mosul, pushing the last pockets of Islamic State resistance from the city.

A photo on Abadi's official Twitter account showed him dressed in a black military uniform and cap as he arrived in Mosul to announce the recapture of the city.

Tens of thousands of people are likely to return to the city in the near future, placing pressure on the Iraqi government and the global community to begin rebuilding immediately. The latest truce is meant to allay concerns of neighbouring Israel and Jordan about Iranian-backed and government-allied forces at their borders.

Almost one million Mosul residents have been displaced by the fighting - with many living in camps outside the city with little shelter from the summer sun.

In Iraq it holds towns including Tal Afar and Hawijah in the north, as well as a string of territory in western Anbar province.

"I congratulate Prime Minister Abadi, and the Iraqi forces who have been fighting on the ground with great bravery and care against a brutal opponent", British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said in a statement.

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