US-led coalition says Iraqis have retaken Mosul

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BAGHDAD (AP) Developments on Monday, June 10, about the fighting in Iraq’s Mosul (all times Arabia Standard Time).

  • 8:30 p.m.

The U.S.-led coalition congratulated Iraqi forces on retaking Mosul from the Islamic State group after Iraq’s prime minister declared victory in the northern city.

U.S. Central Command said “while there are still areas of the Old City of Mosul that must be back-cleared of explosive devices and possible ISIS fighters in hiding,” Iraqi forces “have Mosul now firmly under their control.”

The coalition provided crucial air support to Iraqi forces after the Mosul offensive was launched in October.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said “make no mistake; this victory alone does not eliminate ISIS and there is still a tough fight ahead,” using another acronym for IS. But he said the loss of the city “is a decisive blow.”

  • 8:15 p.m.

Iraq’s prime minister declared victory against the Islamic State group in Mosul following nine months of grueling urban combat.

Speaking from a small base on the edge of Mosul’s Old City, where heavy clashes had been underway for days, Haider al-Abadi said Iraqi forces had achieved victory “by the blood of our martyrs.”

He had made similar announcements in recent days despite ongoing clashes, and visited Mosul on Sunday to congratulate Iraqi troops.

Heavy fighting was still underway just a few hours before he spoke, and it was unclear whether the last militants had been defeated.

The battle for Mosul killed thousands and displaced more than 897,000 people.

  • 4:00 p.m.

The United Nations said there was no end in sight to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq despite progress to drive the Islamic State group from Mosul.

A statement revealed thousands of Mosul residents would likely remain displaced from the city after the fight was concluded because of “extensive damage caused during the conflict.”

Airstrikes, artillery, and militant bombings destroyed thousands of buildings as well as key infrastructure in Mosul. Iraq’s Interior Ministry said more than half of all buildings in western Mosul, where the fighting was heaviest, were damaged or destroyed.

Iraqi forces were still battling the extremists in a small area along the west bank of the Tigris River, where Iraqi commanders said hundreds of fighters were using their own families as human shields.

  • 1:55 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed news the fight against the Islamic State group in Mosul was nearing its end but said the once oil-rich city has been left in ruins.

Erdogan spoke to a World Petroleum Congress meeting in Istanbul. He also questioned who would pay for the reconstruction of the region.

Erdogan said Turkey was “very happy about the news that a conclusion (in the battle for) Mosul is being reached” but cautioned that “the point which Mosul has reached is very important.”

“We have been left with a Mosul in ruins,” he said. “Who will meet the cost of rebuilding Mosul for the people of Mosul?”

The Turkish leader reiterated the importance of maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity and said a planned independence referendum by Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region would harm Iraq’s future.

  • 8:50 a.m.

Iraqi forces were pushing to retake the last patch of ground in Mosul where Islamic State militants were holding on to a tiny sliver of the Old City, west of the Tigris River.

Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the Iraqi special forces said his men, closely backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, were continuing to advance and clear territory in the Old City.

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