MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi forces clashed with Islamic State militants holding out in Mosul’s Old City on Wednesday, more than 36 hours after Baghdad declared victory over the jihadists in what they had declared the de facto Iraqi capital of their “caliphate”. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s victory announcement signaled the biggest defeat for the hardline Sunni group since its lightning sweep through northern Iraq three years ago. But pockets of Mosul remain insecure and the city has been heavily damaged by nearly nine months of grueling urban combat. About 900,000 people fled the fighting, with more than a third sheltered in camps outside Iraq’s second largest city and the rest living with family and friends in other neighborhoods. Civilian activity has quickly returned to much of Mosul and work is underway to repair damaged homes and infrastructure, something the United Nations estimates will initially cost more than $1 billion. Newly trained local police are deployed in Mosul alongside the military, but authorities have not prepared a post-battle plan for governance and security in the city, officials say. Iraqi forces exchanged gunfire with the militants in their final Mosul redoubt just before midnight and through the day on Wednesday, three… Read full this story
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