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Iraqi PM formally declares victory

11 July 2017

President Donald Trump on Monday congratulated Iraq and its prime minister for their "victory over terrorists who are the enemies of all civilized people" after Iraq declared victory over Daesh in its former Iraqi capital.

Militants of the Islamic State (IS, terror group) have said the organization's leader Abu Bakr al-Bahgdadi is dead, the Al Sumaria TV channel reported on Tuesday citing a source in Iraq's Nineveh province.

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had formally declared victory over Islamic State militants in Mosul on Monday.

Abadi met commanders in west Mosul who led the battle, but he has yet to issue a formal declaration that the entire city has been retaken from the group which is also known as ISIS.

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Thousands of civilians were estimated to have been killed in the fight for Mosul, according to Nineveh's provincial council.

Amnesty also documented abuses by IS, including forced displacement, summary killings and using civilians as human shields.

While Iraq's Army and its people celebrate the win over Mosul, the question remains as to how long will it take for the city to be livable again.

Carried out from October last year to January this year, it states that "air strikes in east Mosul were generally against pre-selected targets and not in support of front-line fighting".

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Iraqi forces liberated Mosul on Sunday after 266 days of fierce battles, bringing to an end three years of IS rule. 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.

Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, said, "The further suffering of its people and the destruction of the physical city are now added to the toll of IS' extremist violence". "Number two, they point fingers at us and say the coalition is responsible for strikes to incite hatred against us".

Abadi's statement came after Iraqi forces mopped up the last pockets of Daesh resistance in Mosul's Old City, where the Takfiri terrorists were surrounded in a sliver of territory about 200 by 100 meters.

He estimated that rebuilding the Old City alone would cost $1 billion.

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"They did air-drop leaflets into [ISIS]-controlled areas of the city, instructing civilians to stay away from [ISIS] or to hang children's clothes on the roof to mark civilian homes".

Iraqi PM formally declares victory