Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Iraqi declares 'total victory' over Islamic State in Mosul
Iraq on Monday declared "total victory" over the Islamic State group in Mosul, retaking full control of the country's second-largest city three years after it was seized by extremists bent on building a global caliphate.
"This great feast day crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis for the past three years," said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, flanked by his senior military leadership at a small base on the edge of the Old City, where the final battles for Mosul unfolded.
Al-Abadi alluded to the brutality of the battle for Mosul — Iraq's longest yet in the fight against IS — saying the triumph had been achieved "by the blood of our martyrs."
While Mosul fell to IS in a matter of days in 2014, the campaign to retake the city lasted nearly nine months. The fight, closely backed by airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition, brought an end to the extremists' so-called territorial caliphate, but has also left thousands dead, entire neighborhoods in ruins and nearly 900,000 displaced from their homes. Shortly after al-Abadi's speech, the coalition congratulated him on the victory but noted that parts of the Old City still "must be back-cleared of explosive devices and possible ISIS fighters in hiding." ISIS, ISIL and Daesh are alternative acronyms for the Islamic State group.
"The victory in Mosul, a city where ISIS once proclaimed its so-called 'caliphate,' signals that its days in Iraq and Syria are numbered," President Donald Trump said in a statement.