ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On the one-year anniversary of his announcement in Mosul of the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) in the city, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the joint Iraqi and Kurdish security forces that took part in the operation, saying they had "written the lines of this timeless epic with blood and enormous sacrifices."
"Today, we remember with pride the first anniversary of the liberation of the beloved Mosul, that timeless saga that filled the hearts of our people and stifled the back of the terrorist who cursed Mosul in the absence of time," read a statement released by his office.
"The army, the federal and local police, the anti-terrorist apparatus, the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF), the Peshmerga and all the good people side by side," he said, "have opened the doors of stability and security in our dear country at a difficult stage."
Iraq launched the battle to retake Mosul on October 17, 2016, with the participation of 100,000 armed personnel, supported by the US-led international coalition.
On July 10, 2017, Abadi traveled to Mosul to announce its liberation and declared in a statement released that day, "In our unity, we will be able to eliminate the remaining gangs and their criminal cells and track them out of the border."
Although the eastern half of Mosul was spared the wholesale destruction experienced by the western half, the city as a whole is far from able to receive tens of thousands of displaced residents, let alone to provide them even basic services.
"We are glad that our city is liberated from Da'esh (IS), but now there are few of public services. We have no water and no electricity," one resident told Kurdistan 24.
Another said, "The federal government of Iraq has done very little to rebuild Mosul. There is a lack of services and the city has become full of trash."
Abadi declared a military victory over Iraq in December but since then, IS has waged an insurgency by staging multiple bombings, killings, and kidnappings in several provinces including Nineveh, of which Mosul is a part.
On Monday, IS militants killed three PMF militiamen near Iraq’s largest oil refinery in Salahuddin province.
Former Iraqi Minister of Interior Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi said in a statement on Sunday that IS extremists remain in control of over 75 villages in the provinces of Kirkuk, Salahuddin, and Diyala.