Iraqi Prime Minister in Mosul after 'victory' over ISIS

Iraqi Prime Minister in Mosul after 'victory' over ISIS”

But even if Raqqa is recaptured, US and coalition military officials have acknowledged that ISIS has shifted some of its command and control functions to more remote towns and areas along the Euphrates River Valley.

Mr Abadi was in the city to announce its "liberation" and declare "victory", his office said in a statement.

Stephen Townsend, commanding general of Operation Inherent Resolve, congratulated Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi and the Iraqi military on their "historic victory against a brutal and evil enemy". ISIS, ISIL and Daesh are alternative acronyms for the Islamic State group.

A week ago, Iraq claimed a "symbolic victory" against ISIS by recapturing the Mosul mosque where the ISIS caliphate declared itself in 2014. "This great feast day crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis of the past three years".

Troops are still dealing with explosives and mines in the city, Abadi's office says.

A 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militias launched the offensive to recapture the northern city in October.
Abadi, who arrived in Mosul on Sunday, thanked troops and the coalition. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the victory "a critical milestone" in the war against IS.
Baghdadi has fled the city and his whereabouts are unknown.

Plumes of smoke Monday grew larger than the strip of territory under IS control.

But he warned more challenges lay ahead, before raising the Iraqi flag.

This jubilation, however, remains somewhat incomplete mainly because the senior leadership of Daesh has never been captured, nor has any material proof been brought forth verifying the allegations of its demise. Further, there's the continued existence of "outside powers" who have undeniably helped to mold Iraq since 2003 - when the U.S. helped overthrow Saddam Hussein.

The infrastructure in western Mosul, where the fighting was fiercest, has been decimated.

Much of the city of 1.5 million has been destroyed, its centuries-old stone buildings flattened. Thousands of civilians died in bombings, assassinations and other attacks.

At least 112 bodies were pulled from the site of that strike.

Mosul has played a key role in ISIS becoming a legitimate threat in the region and drawing recruits from abroad.

"I won't hazard a guess", he said.

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