Baghdad – Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Saturday attended a massive military parade in Baghdad celebrating the victory announced against the terror group ISIS in Mosul.
National army, police and other security troops along with Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) partook in the parade. Baghdad and other provinces nationwide are currently witnessing Iraqis celebrating ISIS terrorists being driven out of their former bastion Mosul.
On Monday, three years after the militants seized the city and made it the stronghold of a so-called “caliphate”, Abadi formally declared victory of the country’s forces over the terrorist group a day after the military and PMF took full control of the northern city.
“I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist ISIS announced from Mosul,” Abadi said in a speech shown on state television.
“We have another mission ahead of us, to create stability, to build and clear ISIS cells, and that requires an intelligence and security effort, and the unity which enabled us to fight ISIS,” he said before raising an Iraqi flag.
Iraq declared a week-long holiday to mark the victory. People celebrated in the streets of the capital Baghdad and southern cities.
For its part, the US-led coalition said in a statement that Iraqi forces were in “firm control” of Mosul, but some areas still needed to be cleared of explosive devices and possible ISIS terrorists in hiding.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
An estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from Mosul ever since the battle to retake the city began eight months ago. A total of 195,000 civilians have also returned, mainly to the liberated areas in the east.