MOSUL : On Monday Prime Minister of Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul.
Three years after the militants seized the city and made it the stronghold of a “caliphate” they said would take over the world.
Haider al-Abadi made the announcement from the operations room of the Counter-Terrorism Service, his media office said on Twitter.
He arrived in Mosul on Sunday to congratulate military commanders who have waged a nearly nine-month battle to recapture the city from Islamic State. 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. In the aftermath of victory, Abadi’s government now faces the task of managing the sectarian tensions in Mosul and elsewhere that enabled Islamic State to win support, and the threat of a wave of revenge violence in the city.
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