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U.S. General Says Fight Against Islamic State 'Far From Over' In Iraq

Iraq -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (L) is welcomed by Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend upon his arrival in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, February 20, 2017

A senior U.S. general said on July 11 that the fight is "far from over" in Iraq despite the recapture of Mosul from Islamic State, and he sees no major reduction in U.S. troop numbers after the fall of the city.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in Mosul on July 10, marking the biggest defeat for the Sunni extremist group since its sweep through northern Iraq three years ago.

Iraqi security forces still have to clear IS fighters from a number of Iraqi towns, including Tal Afar and Hawija.

"This fight is far from over. So I wouldn't expect to see any significant change in our troop levels in the immediate future because there's still hard work to be done by the Iraqis and the coalition," Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the head of U.S.-led coalition forces fighting IS, told a news briefing.

Townsend said he expects the coalition presence to continue in Iraq even after IS is eventually defeated. The Iraqi government, the United States, and other coalition governments are interested in keeping a force there, he said.

"I think it is in the final decision-making stages,"he said.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters