Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has congratulated Iraqi fighters on “this big victory in Mosul” even as fighting continues in Mosul’s Old City neighborhood where Iraqi forces are about 250 meters from the Tigris River and facing increasingly brutal resistance. Al-Abadi spoke during a press conference in Baghdad today, less than a week after he declared an end to IS’ self- styled caliphate after Iraqi forces achieved an incremental win by retaking the landmark al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City.
His remarks come on the three year anniversary of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sermon at the al-Nuri Mosque, from where he declared an Islamic caliphate. Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city, in October. IS overran Mosul in a matter of days in 2014.