Nineveh operation in final phase: Iraqi premier
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the counter-terrorism push against Daesh in the northwestern province of Nineveh is in its final phase.
Speaking Sunday on the occasion of Iraqi Armed Forces Day, Abadi said government troops and allied volunteer forces have managed to retake about two-thirds of Nineveh Province from the Takfiri terrorists.
The Nineveh battle is concentrated in and around its provincial capital Mosul.
Mosul, along with three towns in the western Anbar Province, is where the remaining Daesh terrorists are holed up. The Takfiri group captured Mosul in 2014, when it started its campaign of terror in the northern and western parts of Iraq.
The advance in Mosul has been slowed down due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians, who are being prevented by the terrorists from leaving the city.
However, it was reported on Sunday that members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), who are fighting Daesh in Mosul alongside allied fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, had reached the eastern bank of Tigris River.
Moreover, Iraqi security forces established control over the mosque, where purported Daesh ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gave his famous speech on the formation of the terror group.
Abadi further expressed satisfaction with the forces’ performance and gallantry, saying they are the ones who guard the country’s sovereignty and esteem.
“We doubled our efforts to reconstruct the central part of the army on the basis of professional and technical principles,” said Abadi, adding that this has enabled the armed forces to engage in successful anti-terror operations in Iraqi towns and cities.
The Iraqi prime minister has earlier said it could take the country as short as three months to vanquish the terrorists.