Iraqi Prime Minister declares victory in Mosul

9 2017 shows a general view of the destruction in Mosul's Old City. Iraq will announce imminently a final victory in the nearly nine-month offensive to retake Mosul from jihadists a US general said Saturday as celebrations brok

Iraq launched the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS in October.

"We are seeing now the last metres [of ground to take] and then final victory will be announced", a military spokesman said.

An Iraqi declaration of victory "is imminent", U.S. Brigadier General Robert Sofge told the AFP news agency in Baghdad.

Much of Mosul's Old City and surrounding areas have been devastated by months of gruelling urban combat. The mood was less festive, however, among some of the almost one million Mosul residents displaced by months of fighting, many of whom are living in camps outside the city. The Department of Defense has requested $1.269 billion (1.1 billion euros) in USA budget funds for 2018 to continue supporting Iraqi forces. The militants destroyed the mosque and its famed minaret as Iraqi forces closed in last month.

At least 35 ISIS terrorists were killed and six others arrested on Saturday as they tried to escape from western Mosul where security forces were closing in.

Hundreds of ISIS militants are estimated remaining in the Old City inside the allies and nearby buildings.

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Iraq's Joint Command also stated Saturday that with these areas under their control, "the Federal Police have concluded their missions assigned to them in Old Mosul and the right bank", which is located west of the Tigris River and bisects Mosul.

About 100 ISIL fighters had earlier been reported to be trapped in a sliver of the Old City along the Tigris.

Iraqi commanders said the militants were fighting for every meter with snipers and suicide bombers, which forces the security forces to fight house-to-house in the densely populated narrow alleyways. On Sunday, a line of tired civilians walked out of the Old City, past the shells of destroyed apartment blocks lining the cratered roads.

"The liberation of Mosul not only means the biggest defeat of Daesh over the last three years, but also represents a major development in the Iraqi and Syrian war against Daesh", Hamid Baeedinejad said in a post on social media.

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.

United Nations predicts it will cost more than $1 billion to fix Mosul's infrastructure in Mosul.

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