Mosul celebrates first anniversary of liberating eastern side from Islamic State

Iraqi Federal police celebrate in West Mosul, Iraq July 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Mosul ( People in Mosul have celebrated on Wednesday the first anniversary of liberating the eastern side of the city, which was occupied by Islamic State militants since 2014.

Streets and restaurants in the city were lighted up in celebration of the liberation, AlSumaria News reported. Students in schools also celebrated.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared in July victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city. More than 25,000 Islamic State militants were killed throughout the campaign. Abadi announced, in December, full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group.

The Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that Iraqi army forces are launching a clearing operation against IS militants based on intelligence information with support from the United States-led international coalition in “Jozor al-Makhlat” (islands) in Nineveh.

Last month, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

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