The iraqi prime minister proclaims the victory in Mosul "released"

The defeat is considererd the biggest yet for the Islamic State group three years since it seized Mosul in a lightning offensive across much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland and proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.

Abadi "arrives in the liberated city of Mosul and congratulates the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people on the achievement of the major victory", his office said in a statement.

- March 12: A United States envoy says Iraqi troops have cut all roads into western Mosul, trapping remaining IS fighters inside. Tens of thousands of army, police and counter-terrorism troops are thrown into the long-awaited offensive with air and ground support from a US-led coalition.

The mood was less festive, however, among some of the almost one million Mosul residents displaced by the fighting, many of whom are living in camps outside the city.

The Iraqi military is close to declaring victory over Daesh, but the suicide attack was a tragic reminder of the danger all in Mosul will continue to face.

Abadi met commanders in west Mosul who led the battle, but he has yet to issue a formal declaration that the entire city has been retaken from the group which is also known as ISIS.

Iraqi forces battle the last few hundred jihadists in Mosul's historic centre.

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"The fighters of Islamic State are collectively pledging to fight to the death", Amaq said.

A USA general told the AFP news agency that the Iraqi military was close to announcing a final victory.

But most Iraqi fighters fled by mingling in with the flood of civilians fleeing the Old City.

Iraq's prime minister celebrated with troops on Sunday after they drove Islamic State militants from some of their last strongholds in Mosul, even as heavy fighting continued in a small portion of the Old City neighborhood.

"Mosul liberated from ISIS: France pays homage to all those, who alongside our troops, contributed to this victory", Macron said on his Twitter account.

In Mosul, security forces killed 74 militants.

After months of intense fighting that's gutted the city, the sound of gunfire is more sporadic. Iraq's regional Kurdish leader said Thursday in a Reuters interview that the Baghdad central government had failed to prepare a post-battle political, security and governance plan.

  • Adam Floyd