Latest: Iraq's prime minister 'arrives in Mosul to declare victory over Islamic State'

Update 3pm: Iraq's prime minister has arrived in Mosul to declare victory over the so-called 'Islamic State' group in the more than eight-month-old operation to drive the militants from the city, state TV said.

State TV quoted Haider al-Abadi as saying he "congratulates the fighters and the people on the big victory" in the key city.

Dressed in a black uniform of a type worn by Iraqi special forces, al-Abadi was shown today getting out of a military plane and being greeted by senior security forces commanders.

Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraq launched the operation to retake Mosul in October.

Iraqi state TV says government forces have driven the militants from all areas and are "chasing" them in the city.

Earlier:

Iraqi forces are "tens of metres" from defeating the so-called 'Islamic State' group in Mosul, say commanders.

The announcement comes a day after a major counterattack by 'IS'.

The militants hold less than one square mile of territory but are using civilians as human shields, making it nearly impossible for US-led warplanes to flush them out.

The Joint Operations Command said "our units are still continuing to advance... Not much is left before our forces reach the river."

Iraqi officials made similar pronouncements over the past week as security forces bottled the militants up in a sliver of the Old City along the River Tigris.

But the troops' progress has slowed in recent days.

The operation to retake Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, began in October.


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