Iraq PM declares victory in 'liberated' Mosul

Posted July 10, 2017

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi arrived in Mosul on Sunday to celebrate victory over the Daesh terrorist group, Reuters reported.

Haider al-Abadi "arrives in liberated Mosul and congratulates the fighters heroic, and the people of iraq for this great victory", said his office in a press release.

ISIS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost.

Last month, as Iraqi troops closed in on Mosul's Old City, the militants destroyed the al-Nuri Mosque and its famous leaning minaret to deny the forces a symbolic triumph.

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Mosul was the largest city that came under the clutches of the terror outfit and the battle for the city left thousands of civilians dead and displaced almost one million people besides leaving large areas in ruins.

ISIS first seized Mosul in 2014, but Iraqi forces have been chipping away at jihadist control of the city since October of past year.

Islamic State militants now control less than a mile of territory in the shattered city, but they are using human shields, suicide bombers and snipers in a fight to the death.

But the fight grew tougher when Iraqi forces entered the densely populated Old City on the western bank of the Tigris River that divides the city. A month later jihadist group's supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance in Mosul, to urge Muslims worldwide to move to the recently proclaimed "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.

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- March 14: Iraqi forces say they have captured the city's train station after reaching other symbolic sites such as the regional government headquarters and the city's museum.

The group also staged a major commando attack on the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk days after the launch of the assault on Mosul, which was Iraq's biggest military operation in years.

Around 915,000 residents have fled Mosul since the start of the battle for the city in October, the United Nations said this week.

The extremists still hold several smaller towns and villages across Iraq and Syria.

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The official Twitter account of the prime minister tweeted a photo of him shaking hands and congratulating Iraqi forces for liberating the city.