‘Islamic State crushed in Iraq but remains global threat’ says PM Abadi

Screengrab of FRANCE24's interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in an interview with France 24 broadcast Monday said they had crushed the Islamic State [Daesh] group in Iraq, “almost completely.”

“We have now almost crushed Daesh militarily in Iraq. [Daesh] is remaining in just a small area in Iraq — we have the small area of Hawija and the small area bordering Syria, the al-Anbar Province. These are very small and [after their liberation] we will have crushed Daesh militarily — we have done this and are doing this.” Abadi said.

However the Iraqi PM said the jihadist group still posed a threat to the world and had members coming from “almost 100 countries in the world to Syria, to Iraq, to fight and to kill innocent civilians.”

“The challenge is the terrorism of Daesh, the terrorism of ISIL,” he said using another of the group’s acronyms before adding, “It’s very dangerous and this is worldwide and not only Iraq. And it needs all the support and cooperation of the world.”

Regarding IS’ leader Abubakir al-Baghdadi, Abadi said he was in isolation and keeping a low profile to avoid capture.

“I can tell you we have killed and eliminated most of his aides. He is almost alone. He doesn’t have many people to trust. He is in isolation. We are monitoring his movements. He is very low-profile. His communication with other terrorists is very low and at sometimes it’s almost non-existent.”

Iraqi forces, alongside Kurdish Peshmerga and Shiite and Sunni militias launched the Battle of Mosul to retake the IS group’s stronghold in Iraq on 16 October 2016, the operation, despite difficulties and setbacks mostly due to a high concentration of civilians in the city, is ongoing.