Iraqi Premier Declares Victory Over ISIS In Mosul

Iraqi Premier Declares Victory Over ISIS In Mosul by Louisa Loveluck, Liz Sly and Mustafa Salim - Washington Post

Iraq’s prime minister showed up Sunday in the city of Mosul to declare victory in the nine-month battle for control of the Islamic State’s former capital in Iraq, signaling the near-end of the most grueling campaign against the extremist group to date and dealing a near-fatal blow to the survival of its self-declared caliphate.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has arrived in Mosul to personally congratulate the Iraqi security forces “on achieving victory,” a statement from his office said.

The official Twitter account of the prime minister tweeted a photo of him shaking hands and congratulating Iraqi forces for liberating the city.

But in a sign of how tenaciously the Islamic State has fought, even as Abadi was touring the town the sound of airstrikes echoed through the skies and smoke rose from the last pocket of territory the militants control, thought to be no more than 200 yards long and 50 yards wide.

The confusion of the moment came as a reminder that even though a complete victory now seems assured, it has come at a tremendous price.

The conquest brings to a close the toughest battle yet in the Islamic State war, one that lasted far longer than anticipated. When the offensive was launched last October, U.S. officials were privately predicting a two-month fight, and expressed hope that mass civilian displacement and widespread destruction could be avoided…

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