Iraqi prime minister arrives in Mosul to celebrate 'big victory'

The group, however, still controls territory in Iraq and is expected to revert to more conventional insurgent tactics such as bombings as its self-proclaimed caliphate falls apart.

Iraqi troops, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes and Shia and Kurdish militias, have liberated the whole eastern side of Mosul in a six-month offensive that began in October. Some units remain up to 150 yards from the river.

A US-led worldwide coalition is providing air and ground support to the eight-month campaign to wrest back Mosul, by far the largest city seized by IS in 2014.

Air strikes and artillery salvoes pounded the militants' last bastion in the city as black smoke billowed over it, a Reuters TV crew said.

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.

The northern Iraqi city was where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only known public appearance in July 2014, announcing himself to the world as "caliph" during a Friday sermon at a mosque in the Old City.

Of course, government forces have a couple of times announced imminent victory since the fight for Mosul began in earnest in November.

Froome is playing mind games with me: Porte
The elite GIGN unit specialises in hostage rescue and counter-terrorism and will be deployed during the race , The Local said. This year's Tour will have nine flat stages, five hilly stages, five mountain stages and two time trials.

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

The victory announcement came after state TV reported that troops had reached the Tigris riverside and raised the Iraqi flag there.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the "liberated" city of Mosul on Sunday, his office said, after a gruelling almost nine-month battle against the Islamic state group.

Iraq's Joint Operations Command said a group of militants tried to escape across the Tigris River from west Mosul, but 35 of them were killed by government forces.

More than 2,000 militants are holed up with their families and tens of thousands of civilians in Raqqa's center, the city's most densely populated districts.

Iraqi forces have been backed by United States forces and on Sunday said they had reached the banks of the Tigris. The fierce battle has killed thousands and displaced more than 897,000 people.

The recapture of Mosul, hailed as a decisive step towards ending this unprecedented episode in the history of modern jihad, is the latest in a long string of setbacks for IS.

  • Sonia Alvarado