Battle for Mosul has begun, Iraq PM says

  • 17/10/2016

Iraq's Prime Minister has announced on state television that the campaign to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State has started.

"The hour has come and the moment of great victory is near," Haider al-Abadi said on Monday morning (NZ time) in a speech on state TV, surrounded by the armed forces' top commanders.

"I announce today the start of the operation to liberate the province of Nineveh."

It is likely to be one of the biggest battles in Iraq for years.

Mosul once housed more than two million people and it's thought more than a million remain there.

The Iraqi Air Force dropped leaflets over the city this morning urging civilians to flee.

Islamic State has held the city for two years and considers Mosul the so-called capital of the caliphate in Iraq.

"We are proud to stand with you in this historic operation," Brett McGurk, US envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, said on Twitter at the start of the Mosul offensive.

Reuters / Newshub.