Iraq’s PM claims Mosul victory, but state TV says ISIS fighters remain
IRBIL, Iraq (CNN) — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tweeted Sunday that he has arrived in the “liberated city of Mosul” and “congratulates the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people in achieving this great victory.”
But state TV reported Sunday that ISIS militants are still holding out in one neighborhood of Mosul.
Mosul is Iraq’s biggest metropolis outside of Baghdad, and gaining control of the city was one of ISIS’ most significant strategic wins. When the terror group seized Mosul in June 2014, it also took control of more than 2.5 million people and subjected some to horrors.
It beheaded people in public, threw gay men to their deaths from the top of buildings and made prisoners out of men who did not grow beards and women who did not wear Islamic clothing such as burqas.
In October last year, al-Abadi announced the start of the mission to retake Mosul, using a diverse coalition of about 100,000 troops.
Mosul has been considered one of the main entry points for foreign fighters coming into the country.
As fighters flocked to Mosul, hundreds of thousands of residents fled, prompting a refugee crisis.
The city is also near some of Iraq’s most vital oil fields, as well an oil pipeline that services Turkey. Securing these fields could bolster Iraq’s economy and hit ISIS’ finances hard, as the militant group sells oil illegally to fund its operations.
CNN’s Ali Younes and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.