Abadi hails 'great victory' against ISIL in Mosul

9 2017 shows a general view of the destruction in Mosul's Old City

Abadi hails 'great victory' against ISIL in Mosul

"This great feast day crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis for the past three years", he said.

The kidnapping was one of six mass hostage events conducted by ISIS in 2016 in Mosul alone, according to new data released in July by the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

Some ISIS fighters now in Syria and Iraq may try to join the Sinai affiliate or travel to Afghanistan, much as al Qaeda fighters moved to Iraq and Yemen after 9/11. "But the loss of one of its twin capitals and a jewel of their so-called caliphate is a decisive blow".

Soon, Iraqi officials and Mosul residents - as well as their US allies - will need to start looking at a long and challenging to-do list.

Mass abductions like the ones perpetrated by ISIS in Iraq are rare.

Milloy says crews fighting a 9-square-mile (23-square-kilometer) fire near Oroville in Northern California are contending with steep terrain, soaring daytime temperatures and the possibility of renewed winds. That's been a recurring strategy for Iraq, but giving defeated forces no place to flee to is also convincing many ISIS fighters they have to fight to the death, which is dragging out the fighting in the Old City. Since the military campaign to retake Mosul began in October, some 920,000 civilians have fled their homes, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Long lines of civilian cars decorated with roses, honked their horns and roamed the main streets in Baghdad, while hundreds of people in groups were raising Iraqi flags, dancing and chanting victory songs and congratulating each other in many areas across the city, including Tahrir Square Mansour.

"But we will need help ... help to go back, rebuild and get back to work".

Mosul has been totally liberated from control by the Islamic State, Iraq's prime minister declared Monday. Iraq's civil defense rescue teams - a branch of the Interior Ministry - said about 65 percent of the buildings in the Old City were severely damaged or destroyed.

"They made no real effort to properly bury the bodies", said Belkis Wille, a senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, who visited the site in November.

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In the database, terror attacks are defined as acts of violence that are intentional and not perpetrated by state actors.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi shocked the Middle East and Western powers three years ago 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. But he warned that more challenges lay ahead.

It is extraordinarily difficult to estimate how many foreign fighters remain in the region.

"I congratulate all Iraqis on the great victory over the terrorist Daesh (IS) which was achieved by the blood of the martyrs of our security forces and the unity of all Iraqis under the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi", Ismail Hameed, 23, told Xinhua. It's unclear whether that force is ready to be fully deployed.

Concerns are growing that Shi'ite militias that mobilised in other parts of the country to fight ISIS could turn their guns on one another in a scramble for power. "If the situation in Syria is unstable, Iraq will be unstable".

Tillerson called the liberation of Mosul is a "critical milestone" in the fight against Islamic State. Most expect a resounding "yes" vote, given the depth of feeling among Kurds to have their own state.

Last year, the group orchestrated 27 kidnapping and hostage-takings, and collected more than $16 million in ransom, according to the GTD. Ever since Iraq's new constitution was passed, there's been much talk of local autonomy, but it's rarely been delivered.

Pro-government forces used "imprecise, explosive weapons" in the urban conflict and allegedly used disproportionate force, such as a March 17 attack cited by Amnesty in which 105 civilians died in an air strike targeting two IS snipers.

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