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Iraqi PM Declares 'Great Victory' Over Islamic State For Liberated City Of Mosul

A handout picture released by the Iraqi prime minister's press office on July 9, 2017, shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (c) shaking hands with army officers upon his arrival in Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated the country’s armed forces for the victorious eight-month battle to liberate Mosul from three years of jihadist rule.

"The commander in chief of the armed forces (Prime Minister) Haider al-Abadi arrived in the liberated city of Mosul and congratulated the heroic fighters and Iraqi people for the great victory," the prime minister’s office said in a statement marking al-Abadi’s July 9th visit to the war-torn city.

A photo on Abadi's official Twitter account showed him dressed in a black military uniform and cap as he arrived in Mosul to announce the recapture of the city.

Backed by a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi soldiers launched the Mosul operation in October.

They fought their way across the city from its eastern flank before engaging in heavy fighting to take the western side and eventually the Old City, where Islamic State rebels staged a last stand.

The battle for Mosul, the largest city the militants controlled, has taken a heavy toll, killing thousands of civilians and forcing almost one million people from their homes, according to the United Nations.

Officials warned that while the main battle for Mosul was over, the militants may still launch sporadic attacks from rural areas near the city where IS still has pockets of control.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP