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Iraq's prime minister declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul on Monday, three years after the militants seized the city and made it the stronghold of a "caliphate" they said would take over the world.
Axar.az reports citing Reuters.
"I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist Daesh announced from Mosul," Haider al-Abadi said in a speech shown on state television, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
A 100,000-strong coalition of Iraqi government units, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militias launched the offensive to recapture the city from the militants in October, with key air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition.
Abadi, wearing a black military uniform and flanked by commanders from the security forces, thanked troops and the coalition. But he warned that more challenges lay ahead.
"We have another mission ahead of us, to create stability, to build and clear Daesh cells and that requires an intelligence and security effort, and the unity which enabled us to fight Daesh," he said before raising an Iraqi flag.
Abadi arrived in Mosul on Sunday to congratulate military commanders who have waged a nearly nine-month battle to recapture the city, many parts of which were reduced to rubble.
Gunfire and explosions could be heard earlier in the day as the last few Islamic State positions were pounded.
Abadi has been meeting military and political officials in Mosul in an atmosphere of celebration that contrasts with the fear that spread after 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 to declare the caliphate and himself the leader of the world's Muslims.
A reign of terror followed which eventually alienated even many of those Sunni Muslims who had supported the group as allies against Iraq's Shi'ite majority.
Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the Shi'ites have been politically dominant in Iraq but the country has been racked by ethnic conflict.
2017.07.10 / 22:14