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Iraqi PM Visits Liberated Mosul To Celebrate Victory Over Islamic State

A handout picture released by the Iraqi premier's press office shows Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi (center) shaking hands with army officers upon his arrival in Mosul on July 9.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi congratulated the country’s armed forces for the victorious eight-month battle to liberate Mosul from three years of being ruled by the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

"The commander in chief of the armed forces [Prime Minister] Haidar al-Abadi arrived in the liberated city of Mosul and congratulated the heroic fighters and Iraqi people for the great victory," the prime minister’s office said in a statement marking Abadi’s July 9 visit to the war-torn city.

A photo on Abadi's official Twitter account showed him dressed in a black military uniform and cap as he arrived in Mosul to announce the recapture of the city.

"Mosul liberated from [IS]: France pays homage to all those, who alongside our troops, contributed to this victory," French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

Backed by a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi soldiers launched the Mosul operation in October.

They fought their way across the city from its eastern flank before engaging in heavy fighting to take the western side and eventually the Old City, where Islamic State rebels staged a last stand.

The battle for Mosul, the largest city the militants controlled, has taken a heavy toll, killing thousands of civilians and forcing almost one million people from their homes, according to the United Nations.

Officials warned that while the main battle for Mosul was over, the militants may still launch sporadic attacks from areas in and around the city where IS still has pockets of control.

"Situation not resolved, but we are monitoring," the Reuters news agency quoted U.S. National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton as saying when asked whether the battle for Mosul was complete.

While celebrating "the removal of the death cult from Mosul," British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said, "this barbaric group remains dug in west of the Euphrates and clearing operations in and around Mosul will be needed because of the threat from improvised explosive devices."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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