Sir Michael Fallon Hails Campaign To Drive Islamic State Out Of Mosul

The fall of Islamic State's Iraqi stronghold Mosul has been welcomed by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who branded the jihadist group a "death cult".

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi celebrated with troops in the city after they drove militants from some of their last strongholds in a nearly nine-month offensive, although pockets of resistance remain.

Sir Michael said British forces had played a "leading role" in the battle to oust IS from Mosul, with the RAF carrying out 750 air strikes as part of the coalition campaign.

The Defence Secretary congratulated the Iraqi premier and the country's forces who had been fighting "with great bravery and care against a brutal opponent" in IS, also known as Daesh.

The devastation in the city illustrates the intensity of the fighting and the scale of the air campaign mounted by the US-led coalition in support of local ground forces.

The threat from booby traps remains despite the defeat of IS, which occupied the city in 2014 and whose fighters built extensive networks of tunnels and trenches.

Sir Michael said: "Daesh has total disregard for innocent civilian life and we should welcome their defeat in a city that was ground zero for their so-called caliphate.

"Britain has played a leading role in the coalition that has helped bring about the removal of the death cult from Mosul.

"The RAF has struck more than 750 targets as part of the campaign to liberate Mosul - second only to the United States. While these pinpoint strikes have brought an end to Daesh in the city, there is still more to do.

"This barbaric group remains dug in west of the Euphrates and clearing operations in and around Mosul will be needed because of the threat from improvised explosive devices."