3 months needed to rout ISIS: Iraqi PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that it would take 3 months to remove Islamic State from Iraq, as the U.S.-backed forces battle to dislodge the militants from Mosul, their last major stronghold in the country.

3 months needed to rout ISIS: Iraqi PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that it would take 3 months to remove Islamic State from Iraq, as the U.S.-backed forces battle to dislodge the militants from Mosul, their last major stronghold in the country.

Abadi had previously pledged Mosul would be retaken by the end of this year. But the operation has been slowed by concern to avoid casualties among civilians, who have mostly stayed in their homes rather than fleeing as was initially expected.


Responding to recent comments by the commander of a U.S.-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces that it would take as long as two years to eliminate Islamic State and its cells in Iraq and neighboring Syria, Abadi said, “The Americans were very pessimistic. They used to talk about a really long period, but the remarkable successes achieved by our brave and heroic fighters reduced that. I foresee that in Iraq it will take three months."


The US-led coalition has bombed the last remaining bridge connecting the eastern and western parts of Mosul "to reduce enemy freedom of movement. The United Nations has previously expressed concern that the destruction of Mosul's bridges could obstruct the evacuation of civilians. Up to 1.5 million are thought to remain inside.

More than two months into the Mosul operation, elite Iraqi soldiers have retaken a quarter of the city.

A U.S. battlefield commander told Reuters on Monday that Iraqi forces would resume their offensive in the coming days, in a new phase of the operation that will see American troops deployed closer to the front line inside the city.

Mosul, the largest city seized by Islamic State anywhere across the once vast territory it controlled in Iraq and neighboring Syria, has been held by the group since its fighters drove the U.S.-trained army out in June 2014.