(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
A US-trained elite Iraqi force battling Islamic State in the Old City of Mosul said on Sunday (July 9) it reached the Tigris riverbank, indicating that the insurgents' last redoubt in the city was on the verge of falling.
ISIS's defeat in Mosul three years after taking the city is a major blow for the hardline Sunni Islamist group, which is also losing ground in its operational base in the Syrian city of Raqqa from where it has planned global attacks.
The group, however, still controls territory in Iraq and is expected to revert to more conventional insurgent tactics such as bombings as its self-proclaimed caliphate falls apart.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul on Sunday and congratulated the armed forces for their "victory" over Islamic State after nearly nine months of urban warfare, bringing an end to jihadist rule in the city. The battle for Mosul - by far the largest city to fall under the militants' control - has left large areas in ruins, killed thousands of civilians and displaced nearly one million people.