“Iraq is bracing itself for a new phase of warfare as the Islamic State (Isis) loses its grip on Mosul and targets Iraqi cities and civilians in a bloody campaign of deadly suicide attacks.
Acting Interior Minister Ageela al-Khazali told IBTimes UK that while Iraq looked close to collapse in the summer of 2014 – when IS first seized Mosul – Iraqi forces had all but triumphed over the terrorist group on the battlefield.
But the minister added the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi now had to work to combat the next phase of the IS threat.
In Mosul, Khazali said the the defence and intelligence services were expecting sporadic gunfights to erupt after the city, Iraq’s second largest, had been liberated.
“In the future we are expect street wars and street fighting in Mosul,” he said.
Khazali said that IS was likely to retreat into Iraq’s mountainous areas after its defeat in Mosul and launch an insurgency against government forces.”