Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday declared that the city of Mosul has been completely reclaimed from the clutches of Islamic State. “The commander in chief of the armed forces (Prime Minister) Haider al-Abadi arrived in the liberated city of Mosul and congratulated the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people for the great victory,” said a statement from his office. The latest development brought an end to three years of jihadist rule in the city, where thousands of civilians were killed and nearly one million people were displaced after the battle for Mosul left large parts of the city in ruins.
The ISIS terror outfit had vowed to “fight to the death” in Mosul, however, Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool stated that 30 militants had been killed when they were attempting to flee by swimming across the River Tigris that bisects the city. The battle has also resulted in a heavy toll on Iraq’s security forces. As per the US Department of Defense, the elite Counter Terrorism Service had incurred 40 percent losses.
PM Al-Abadi arrives in Mosul to announce its liberation and congratulate the armed forces and Iraqi people on this victory pic.twitter.com/bUtkj7z88A
— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) July 9, 2017
The United States-led international coalition, which vociferously backed the campaign against Islamic State in Mosul, has been conducting airstrikes against the militants and assisting troops on the ground. In a bid to continue supporting Iraqi forces, the Department of Defense has also requested $1.269 billion in US budget funds.
Mosul was the largest city to have fallen under the grip of ISIS, and without the control of the Old City, the terror group’s dominion in Iraq will be reduced to mainly rural, desert areas west and south of the city where tens of thousands of people live.
The official statement also comes exactly three years after ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had proclaimed a “caliphate” spanning Syria and Iraq from the pulpit of the medieval Grand al-Nuri mosque.
With Reuters inputs