Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says all Iraqis must celebrate the recapture of the strategic western city of Fallujah from Daesh terrorists, vowing the liberation of the militants stronghold of Mosul in the near future.
Speaking to Iraqiya state television while standing in front of a hospital in Fallujah on Sunday, the Iraqi premier said the national flag would be raised in Mosul, the country’s second largest city, soon.
“I call on all Iraqis wherever they are to get out and celebrate,” Abadi, adding, “We will raise the Iraqi flag in Mosul soon.”
On Sunday, the commander of the Fallujah liberation operation Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi said the last remaining district held by Daesh in the city had been retaken and declared the city’s full recapture from the terrorists.
“We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter-terrorism service and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Fallujah is over,” he said.
Saidi further stated that at least 1,800 Takfiri militants were killed in the Fallujah operation.
Fallujah, located some 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad, was the first Iraqi city to fall in the hands of Daesh terrorists in January 2014.
After weeks-long clashes with Daesh terrorists, Iraqi forces entered the center of Fallujah on June 17 without facing significant resistance from Daesh terrorists and raised the national flag on the main government compound there.
A member of the Iraqi government forces patrols an area of Fallujah after troops retook the embattled city from the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group on June 26, 2016. ©AFP
However, street clashes between armed forces and the remaining terrorists continued more than a week.
Before being pushed out of Fallujah, Daesh had prevented civilians from escaping the city, using many of them as human shields to slow down army advances.
However, the terror group’s retreat from several neighborhoods enabled the Iraqi army to open up vital exit routes in the course of the operations, allowing tens of thousands of trapped residents to flee.
With the full liberation of Fallujah, Iraqi armed units are likely to focus on the operation to liberate the city of Mosul, which has served as the main Daesh stronghold in the country since 2014.