Moments after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the liberation of Mosul complete, Iraqis from across the country took to the streets.
“Prime Minister Abadi has declared Tuesday July 11 an official holiday, in celebration of the great victory over ISIL and the liberation of the city of Mosul,” said a statement from Iraq’s Council of Ministers.
Celebrations weren’t limited to Mosul, as people danced and sang in Baghdad and the governorates beyond.
Iraqi of all sects and ethnicities took to the streets, waving the national flag in recognition of the ISF victory over ISIL.
Baghdad’s celebrations were concentrated in the centre of the city, where a concert featuring famous Iraqi singers was held near the Monument of Freedom.
In his statement, Abadi – wearing the official uniform of the Counter Terrorism Service – announced victory over ISIL and the liberation of Mosul from the Counter Terrorism Service’s operations headquarter in Mosul.
State television broadcast his speech. “The victory in Mosul was planned and executed by Iraqis, and every Iraqi has the right to take pride in this achievement.”
Addressing both the Iraqi people and security forces, Abadi continued: “Our unity helped us fight ISIL during these years. It was your sacrifices and your blood that helped us break every attempt at dividing the Iraqi people. Today, Iraqi is more unified than before.
“People of Iraq, this victory belongs to you. No none took part in the fight other than Iraqis, and they have all the right to be proud.”
“We now have the job to regain stability, and just as we were united in fighting ISIL, we have to unite to rebuild.”
Iraqi president Fuad Masum said: “The war against ISIL will not stop until their last militant is taken out of this country.”
Addressing the Iraqi people, Masum said that Iraq is determined “to completely eliminate ISIL and rebuild Mosul and the rest of the liberated areas.
“I commend our people for their strong will and togetherness in fighting terrorism, and we value the military help of the international coalition and neighbouring states to counter the terrorists.” Masum also stressed the importance of providing special help to the families of martyrs and caring for wounded members of the Iraqi forces.
The president reaffirmed the need to “double efforts to protect the people and return the displaced to their homes, and start planning for the rebuilding of Mosul and all the areas affected by ISIL’s crimes.”
State TV also broadcast a speech from speaker of parliament Salim al-Jabouri: “After this victory, Iraq has turned the last page of ISIL, and the terrorist organisation is gone forever,” adding “Iraq will now open a new chapter to heal all the wounds suffered by this country and its people. The displaced will suffer no more, and they will return to their homes.”
Iraqi’s Coalition Forces Command said: “Today, Mosul has returned to its people. Today, the righteous have won, and the criminal ISIL is defeated.”
The end of ISIL in Mosul began as Iraqi forces moved into the last pockets of ISIL resistance in the Old City. Mosul’s liberation is a significant step on the road to ousting ISIL from Iraqi lands and its self-proclaimed “caliphate”.