Published: Mon, July 10, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Mosul near liberation from IS

Mosul near liberation from IS

The Islamic State group has lost large parts of the territory it once controlled in Iraq since the regional offensive began.

The Iraqi prime minister arrived to "congratulate the armed forces and the Iraqi people" on the final defeat of IS in Mosul on Sunday, the statement said.

However, dozens of Iraqi soldiers reportedly celebrated amid the rubble along the banks of the Tigris rivers, ahead of a formal victory declaration. Backed by a ferocious aerial bombing campaign by a USA -led global coalition, the offensive has turned much of the city to rubble and forced tens of thousands of people to flee.

Iraqi commanders said the militants were fighting for every scrap of territory, using snipers, grenades and suicide bombers.

"Heroes of the Emergency Rapid Division (ERD) are celebrating the accomplishment of their mission, and God willing, Iraqi men, women and children will return safe to their homes", said Lt. -Col.

"It may take another two or three days", said an Iraqi observer, "But the Iraqi government is right in saying that the greatest battle in its war against Isis is effectively over".

Washington, Baghdad, Mosul - Iraq will imminently announce a final victory in its battle to retake Mosul from ISIS, a U.S. general said.

About 100 ISIL fighters had earlier been reported to be trapped in a sliver of the Old City along the Tigris.

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Iraqi forces set sights on Old City riverside in Mosul
The military estimates up to 350 militants are dug in among civilians in wrecked houses and crumbling infrastructure. Aid organizations say Islamic State has stopped many civilians from leaving, using them as human shields.

State television later showed Abadi touring Mosul on foot alongside residents of Iraq's second-largest city.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced a "victory" over the so-called Islamic State group in the city of Mosul, after almost nine months of fighting.

Al-Abadi said he had arrived in the liberated city and "blessed the forces and people in Iraq for their victory".

Mosul was captured by Islamic State in 2014, and shortly afterwards the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" from inside the city.

- February 19: Abadi announces the start of the battle for west Mosul, with Iraqi forces backed by coalition air power and support from coalition advisers.

The Iraqi government does not reveal casualty figures, but a funding request from the US Department of Defence said the elite Counter Terrorism Service, which has spearheaded the fight in Mosul, had suffered 40 per cent losses.

Nearly 900,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the city.

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