Mo­sul vic­tory wel­comed

IS group also con­firms death of its top leader al-Bagh­dadi

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

BAGH­DAD / BEIJING — World lead­ers con­grat­u­lated Iraq on Tues­day af­ter Bagh­dad de­clared “to­tal vic­tory” over the Is­lamic State group in Mo­sul, re­tak­ing full con­trol of the city three years af­ter it was seized by ex­trem­ists bent on build­ing a global caliphate.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi de­clared on Mon­day that Mo­sul was lib­er­ated from the IS af­ter nine months of fierce fight­ing to dis­lodge the mil­i­tants from their last ma­jor strong­hold in Iraq.

“I de­clare to the whole world the end, fail­ure and col­lapse of Daesh state, the state of (IS group) ter­ror­ism, started here in Mo­sul three years ago,” Abadi said in a speech in Mo­sul.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res hailed the vic­tory as a sig­nif­i­cant step in the fight against ter­ror­ism.

“The United Na­tions will stand by the govern­ment of Iraq in the tasks ahead of cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary con­di­tions for the vol­un­tary, safe and dig­ni­fied re­turn of dis­placed com­mu­ni­ties, restor­ing the rule of law in freed up ar­eas, pre­vent­ing a re­turn to vi­o­lence and fos­ter­ing ac­count­abil­ity for all vi­o­la­tions com­mit­ted,” he said.

China also con­grat­u­lated Iraq on the vic­tory. For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Mon­day: “China will sup­port the Iraqi govern­ment, just like al­ways, in safe­guard­ing the coun­try’s sta­bil­ity and push­ing for­ward eco­nomic re­con­struc­tion.”

Mean­while, the IS group con­firmed the death of its top leader Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi, Iraqi news agency al-Su­maria News re­ported on Tues­day.

In Bagh­dad on Mon­day, thou­sands of Iraqis gath­ered to celebrate the his­toric vic­tory. Long lines of civil­ian cars dec­o­rated with roses, honked their horns and roamed the main streets, while hun­dreds of peo­ple in groups were rais­ing Iraqi flags, danc­ing and chant­ing vic­tory songs and con­grat­u­lat­ing each other in many ar­eas across the city, in­clud­ing Tahrir Square Man­sour.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said the lib­er­a­tion of Mo­sul “un­der­scores the suc­cess of the in­ter­na­tional ef­fort led by the Iraqi se­cu­rity forces”.

“We honor the sac­ri­fices of the Iraqi Se­cu­rity Forces and Iraqi peo­ple, as well as the Kur­dish Pesh­merga, in achiev­ing this vic­tory, and ex­press con­do­lences for the many lives lost in the op­er­a­tion,” the top US diplo­mat said.

He also cau­tioned that there is still much work to be done to de­feat the IS, adding that the coali­tion forces will con­tinue to stand with its Iraqi partners to en­sure that IS is de­feated wher­ever it re­mains in Iraq.

Mo­sul had come un­der IS con­trol since June 2014. The IS mil­i­tants used the city as its base and oc­cu­pied a large swathe of land in Iraq’s north­ern and western re­gions.

Re­gional coun­tries in the Mid­dle East also sent their con­grat­u­la­tions.

Arab League Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ahmed Abul Gheit on Mon­day con­grat­u­lated Iraqi Armed Forces on the “key achieve­ment”, spokesman Mah­moud Afifi was quoted by Egypt’s of­fi­cial MENA news agency as say­ing.

Gheit said Iraqi peo­ple’s sup­port for the army had a great role in de­feat­ing the IS.

Syria’s For­eign Min­istry said that the Mo­sul vic­tory “is for all those who be­lieved that elim­i­nat­ing IS is a no­ble goal that de­serves the sac­ri­fice”.

It stressed that co­op­er­a­tion is on­go­ing be­tween the Syr­ian and Iraqi forces to erad­i­cate the rem­nants of the IS, “be­cause unit­ing our ef­forts is the main guar­an­tee for mak­ing sure the IS has no re­turn”.

Ira­nian De­fense Min­is­ter Hos­sein De­hqan also con­grat­u­lated Iraq on the Mo­sul vic­tory.

China will sup­port the Iraqi govern­ment, just like al­ways, in safe­guard­ing the coun­try’s sta­bil­ity and push­ing for­ward eco­nomic re­con­struc­tion.” Geng Shuang, For­eign Min­istry spokesman

FADEL SENNA/ AFP

Iraqi forces celebrate in the Old City of Mo­sul on Mon­day af­ter the govern­ment an­nounced the lib­er­a­tion of the em­bat­tled city from Is­lamic State con­trol.

KARIM KADIM / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Iraqis celebrate the lib­er­a­tion of Mo­sul from the Is­lamic State group in Bagh­dad on Mon­day.

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