ISIS has cost Iraq more than $100bn: PM Abadi

2017-11-11 18:02
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Karbala - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday that the Islamic State group's occupation of northern Iraq and the battle to defeat it had caused more than $100bn worth of damage.

He was speaking during a visit to Karbala, a city holy to Shi'ite Muslims, where millions of pilgrims gathered to mark the annual Arbaeen commemoration.

ISIS, a radical Sunni group, seized around a third of Iraq and parts of Syria in a sweeping 2014 advance.

But its self-declared "caliphate" has since been decimated by multiple offensives and squeezed into a pocket of territory on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Mourning period

Iraqi forces on Saturday launched an operation to retake the last ISIS-held towns in Iraq, including the Euphrates valley town of Rawa and nearby villages.

The assault also aims to "clean open areas in the desert" of western Iraq, said Abadi, who is also head of the armed forces.

Arbaeen is one of the biggest religious festivals on earth and marks the end of the 40-day mourning period for the 7th-century killing of Imam Hussein by the forces of the Caliph Yazid - a formative event in Shi'ite Islam.

Around 15 million pilgrims gathered in Karbala for this year's commemoration, including three million non-Iraqis, mostly Iranians, the province's security chief Qais Khalaf said on Saturday.


Read more on:    isis  |  iraq

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