Nearly one million Mosul residents have been displaced by the fighting
The Iraqi Prime Minister has declared that the city of Mosul has been “liberated” from ISIS militants.
Iraqi government forces have been rooting out the last few pockets of resistance in Iraq’s second largest city over the past number of days.
The city has been under ISIS control for the past three years, with the battle to retake it ongoing since October last year.
Just after 1pm GMT on Sunday Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi tweeted a message congratulating the “heroic fighters and the Iraqi people on the achievement of the major victory."
He has entered the city and greeted officers at the airfield - after Iraqi forces reached the River Tigris.
PM Al-Abadi arrives in Mosul to announce its liberation and congratulate the armed forces and Iraqi people on this victory pic.twitter.com/bUtkj7z88A— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) July 9, 2017
Nearly one million Mosul residents have been displaced by the fighting – with many living in camps outside the city with little shelter from the summer sun.
The liberation of the city has come at a heavy cost for the local population, with the terrorists known to have used civilians as human shields.
The group has also shot and killed Iraqi residents trying to flee the city according to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, airstrikes undertaken by the US-led coalition attempting to root out the extremists have caused huge collateral damage in the city – reportedly resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.
Newstalk’s foreign affairs correspondent Shona Murray was in the city over the past week as the battle came to its conclusion.
Writing on Thursday, she said the battle for the centre of Mosul was turning into the deadliest of the eight-month campaign to retake Iraq’s second largest city.
Militants remaining in the city have pledged to fight on “to the death” with the use of human shields, suicide bombers and snipers.
Late on Saturday, Iraqi state media said government forces are fighting for the “last metres” of territory in the city adding it is a “matter of hours.”
However the ISIS Amaq news agency claimed “fierce fighting” was ongoing around the Maydan district.