US calls Mosul victory a ‘critical milestone’

BAGHDAD (AP) — 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.

Tillerson is congratulating Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the victory and also praising Kurdish forces that have helped in the fight. He’s also sending condolences to those lost in the operation.

Tillerson says much more must be done to defeat IS.

The secretary says the U.S. and its partners will work with Iraq and the U.N. to stabilize the liberated areas and help displaced civilians return home.

Tillerson says IS “terrorized and brutally murdered thousands of civilians” during its occupation of Mosul.

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President Donald Trump says the recapture of the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State militants means that the group’s days in Iraq and Syria “are numbered.”

Trump says in a written statement Monday that the U.S. will continue to seek the “total destruction” of the Islamic State group.

Al-Abadi declared victory Monday over IS in Mosul after nearly nine months of grueling combat to drive the militants out of Iraq’s second-largest city.

Trump congratulated al-Abadi and the Iraqi security forces and expressed sorrow for the thousands who were killed or brutalized by IS.

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