Iraq PM set to declare Mosul victory

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, July 10, 2017
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is set to declare victory over Islamic State in Mosul as only a few dozen militants put up resistance in the city that was the capital of their self-declared caliphate for the past three years.

Gunfire and explosions could be heard as the US-led coalition pounded the remaining few Islamic State positions.

“They won’t declare victory until the area if fully secured,” said Iraqi army officer Firas Abdel Qassim. The militants still controlled a small patch, he said.

Abadi has been meeting military and political officials in Mosul in a festive atmosphere – a stark contrast to the fear that quickly spread when a few hundred Islamic State militants seized the city and the Iraqi army crumbled in July 2014.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi shocked the Middle East and Western powers shortly afterwards by appearing at the pulpit of Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque in broad daylight and declaring a caliphate and himself the leader of the world’s Muslims.

A reign of terror followed which eventually alienated even fellow Sunni Muslims who supported the group, handing an advantage to the security forces.

Baghdadi has fled the city and his exact whereabouts are unknown. Reports have said he is dead but Iraqi and Western officials have not been able to confirm this.

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