Trump congratulates Iraqis on liberation of Mosul from ISIS

Steve Townsend

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State - called Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve - congratulated Iraqi security forces "on their remarkable progress against ISIS while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives".

The retaking of the devastated city after almost nine months of fighting signals the jihadist group's "days in Iraq and Syria are numbered", Trump said in a statement, praising Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the victory of Iraqi forces over the Islamic State group in Mosul is a "critical milestone" in the world's fight against the extremist group.

In the Old City's al-Shahwan district, Iraqi special forces arrested seven people suspected of having links to the Islamic State on Tuesday, Iraqi News reported.

The senior USA commander in Iraq, Lt Col Stephen Townsend, said Iraq's Shia Arab-led government had to reach out to the Sunni Arab minority community to ensure IS did not return after being defeated militarily in the rest of the country.

After eight months of hard urban warfare, Iraqi military forces on June 29 captured the Mosul mosque at the heart of the strategic northern city, which Daesh had declared its de facto capital. IS fighters carried out forced displacement and summary killings, as well as using civilians as human shields.

The battle for Mosul killed thousands and displaced more than 897,000 people.

Daesh militants, however, managed to capture the Imam Gharbi village from Iraqi forces on July 5.

Amnesty International is calling on the Iraqi authorities to establish an independent and impartial commission to investigate where credible evidence exists that its forces and coalition forces violated international law and make its findings public.

"I reject any notion that coalition fires were in any way imprecise, unlawful or excssively targeted civilians", he said.

Zeid demanded that offenders be brought to justice and all violations thoroughly probed, and urged Iraq to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"We will continue to seek the total destruction of ISIS".

The UN official noted that there have also been allegations of human rights violations and abuses by the Iraqi and associated forces, as well as by individuals taking revenge against captured IS fighters or people accused of supporting them.

For more than two years before the Mosul operation began, Iraqi forces backed by coalition airstrikes slowly reclaimed territory that IS militants had seized as part of the group's self-described "caliphate".

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