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Iraq’s prime minister declares victory over ISIS
A handout picture released by the Iraqi prime minister’s press office on July 9 shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, shaking hands with army officers upon his arrival in Mosul. (AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq’s prime minister showed up Sunday in the city of Mosul to declare victory in the nine-month battle for control of the Islamic State’s former capital in Iraq, signaling the near-end of the most grueling campaign against the extremist group to date and dealing a near-fatal blow to the survival of its self-declared caliphate.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has arrived in Mosul to personally congratulate the Iraqi security forces “on achieving victory,” a statement from his office said.

The official Twitter account of the prime minister tweeted a photo of him shaking hands and congratulating Iraqi forces for liberating the city.

Inside the battle for Mosul

The fight to reclaim the city of Mosul from the Islamic State is one of the biggest yet against the militant group.

More than a million civilians are thought to be trapped in the city, and the already difficult battle is complicated by the uneasy mix of forces that have formed a coalition to rid the city of extremists.