Iraqi forces begun their operation to retake the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced.
“The time of victory has come and operations to liberate Mosul have started,” Abadi said, in an address broadcast on state television. “Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL].”
An offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city has been planned for months, since Iraqi forces and loyal government militia surrounded Mosul, in the country’s north. The city fell to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in June 2014, when the terrorists conducted their offensive on Iraq, overrunning nearly a third of the country.