Fighting in Mosul still ongoin after victory claimed

imgIRAQI forces clashed with Islamic State militants holding out in Mosul’s Old City yesterday, more than 36 hours after Baghdad declared victory.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s victory announcement signaled the biggest defeat for the hardline Sunni group since its lightning sweep through northern Iraq three years ago.
But pockets of Mosul remain insecure and the city has been heavily damaged by nearly nine months of urban combat.
About 900,000 people fled the fighting, with more than a third sheltered in camps outside Iraq’s second largest city and the rest living with family and friends in other neighborhoods.
Civilian activity has quickly returned to much of Mosul and work to repair damaged homes and infrastructure has started, something the United Nations estimates will initially cost more than US$1 billion.
Newly trained local police are deployed in Mosul alongside the military, but authorities have not prepared a post-battle plan for governance and security in the city, officials say.
Iraqi forces exchanged gunfire with the militants in their final Mosul redoubt just before midnight and through the day yesterday, said three residents living just across the Tigris River from the area.
Army helicopters strafed the Old City and columns of smoke rose into the air, though it was unclear if these came from controlled explosions or bombs set off by Islamic State, the residents said by phone.
“We still live in an atmosphere of war despite the victory announcement two days ago,” said resident Fahd Ghanim.
An Iraqi military official attributed the activity to “clearing operations.”

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