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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

President Trump congratulates Iraqi PM on liberation of Mosul

But American general cautions against triumphalism as clashes continue throughout the city for a second day

Smoke billows from Islamic State positions on the edge of the Old City a day after Iraq's prime minister declared "total victory" in Mosul
Smoke billows from Islamic State positions on the edge of the Old City a day after Iraq's prime minister declared "total victory" in Mosul

IRAQ // American president Donald Trump spoke to Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi to congratulate him on the capture and liberation from ISIL of the northern city of Mosul. Trump praised the bravery of Iraqi and American forces, who had fought together during the 10-month-long campaign to rid the country’s second-largest city of the terror group, but also cautioned against any let up in the final stages of the fight against ISIL.

Despite the declaration yesterday of “total victory” by the Iraqi PM during a visit to the city, his forces were still engaged in fighting in Mosul on Tuesday with air strikes and shelling take place in a small part of the western section of the city. Extremists holed up near the Old City were firing mortars at Iraqi army positions and heavy gunfire was heard.

Meanwhile Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the Americans’ top commander in the country, said victory in Mosul did not eliminate IS from Iraq warned of a “tough fight ahead.” Townsend urged Iraqis to unite and prevent a return of the conditions that allowed the rise of the extremists.

"This fight is far from over. So I wouldn't expect to see any significant change in our troop levels in the immediate future because there's still hard work to be done by the Iraqis and the coalition."