The battle for Mosul was Iraq's longest and most punishing conventional fight against I.S. in the more than three-year war against the extremists
, photo: AP/Karim Kadim
10 of July 2017 15:20:15
MOSUL – Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory Monday evening over the Islamic State group (I.S.) in Mosul after nearly nine months of grueling combat to drive the militants out of Iraq's second-largest city."We announce the total victory for Iraq and all Iraqis," al-Abadi said, speaking from a small base in western Mosul on the edge of the Old City, where the last pockets of resistance had been holding out."This great feast day crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis for the past three years," he said.
Hours earlier, airstrikes pounded the last I.S.-held territory on the western edge of the Tigris River. In recent days, Iraqi troops, closely backed by airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition, confined the remaining few hundred extremists in an area measuring less than a square kilometer (less than a mile).Shortly after al-Abadi's speech, the coalition congratulated him on the victory against "a brutal and evil enemy," according to a statement."While there are still areas of the Old City of Mosul that must be back-cleared of explosive devices and possible ISIS fighters in hiding, the ISF have Mosul now firmly under their control," the statement added.Al-Abadi was in Mosul on Sunday, congratulating Iraqi soldiers on recent gains but stopping short of declaring an outright victory.[caption id="attachment_66252" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi raises the national flag as he addresses forces from a small base on the edge of Mosul's Old City, where heavy clashes have been underway for days, Monday, July 10, 2017. Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister's Media Office, via AP[/caption]The battle for Mosul was Iraq's longest and most punishing conventional fight against I.S. in the more than three-year war against the extremists.Launched in October, the massive operation comprised more than 70,000 Iraqi troops drawn from the country's army, special forces, police, tribal fighters and mostly Shiite paramilitary forces.Over the course of the campaign, Iraq's special forces units who largely led the assault have faced casualty rates of 40 percent, according to a report in May from the office of the U.S. secretary of defense.Additionally, thousands of civilians were estimated to have been killed, according to Nineveh's provincial council. That did not include those still believed buried under collapsed buildings.The fight also displaced more than 897,000 people, and the United Nations said there was no end in sight to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq despite the conclusion of the fight.The U.N. said thousands of Mosul residents will likely remain displaced from the city after the fight is concluded because of "extensive damage caused during the conflict."
We joined the people of Mosul in their celebration of the city's liberation, brought about through the sacrifices of our brave forces pic.twitter.com/wnxMXZhWGZ— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) 10 de julio de 2017