MOSUL – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has arrived in Mosul to congratulate the country’s security forces on their “great victory” in liberating the city from Islamic State terrorists after an eight-month-long operation.
“The commander in chief of the armed forces, Haider 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 on Sunday.
Pictures emerging from inside the city showed soldiers cheering and taking selfies to celebrate ISIS’ downfall.
People can be seen embracing and holding the Iraqi flag aloft in a stirring show of national fervour.
“It may take another two or three days,” said an Iraqi observer, “But the Iraqi government is right in saying that the greatest battle in its war against Isis is effectively over.”
State TV showed Abadi getting out of a military plane in a black Iraqi Special forces uniform.
— Iraqi Day 🇮🇶 (@iraqi_day) July 9, 2017
Some Iraqi troops were seen dancing in the streets and on top of their tanks, celebrating the liberation of the city from the jihadists.
Despite the congratulations, the prime minister has yet to make a formal declaration announcing the full liberation of Mosul.
French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter on Sunday to congratulate Iraq, as well as members of the US-led coalition involved in the Mosul operation, on the victory.
Mossoul libérée de Daech : hommage de la France à tous ceux, avec nos troupes, qui ont contribué à cette victoire.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 9, 2017
“Mosul liberated from ISIS: France pays homage to all those who, alongside our troops, contributed to this victory,” Macron wrote.