Europe

Iraqi PM signals start of operations to drive IS from Mosul

  • This photo released on his official Facebook page shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, surrounded by top military and police officers as he announces the start of the operation to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants early Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The push to retake Mosul will be the biggest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011 and, if successful, the strongest blow yet to the Islamic State. (Iraq Prime Minister's office via AP)

    This photo released on his official Facebook page shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, surrounded by top military and police officers as he announces the start of the operation to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants early Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The push to retake Mosul will be the biggest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011 and, if successful, the strongest blow yet to the Islamic State. (Iraq Prime Minister's office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo released on his official Facebook page shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, surrounded by top military and police officers as he announces the start of the operation to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants early Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The push to retake Mosul will be the biggest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011 and, if successful, the strongest blow yet to the Islamic State. (Iraq Prime Minister's office via AP)

    This photo released on his official Facebook page shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, surrounded by top military and police officers as he announces the start of the operation to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants early Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The push to retake Mosul will be the biggest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011 and, if successful, the strongest blow yet to the Islamic State. (Iraq Prime Minister's office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -- In this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces gather ahead of an operation to re-take the Islamic State-held City of Mosul, outside Irbil, Iraq. Iraqi forces appear poised to launch their most complex anti-IS operation to date: retaking the country’s second largest city of Mosul. While the country’s military has won a string of territorial victories that have pushed IS out of more than half of the territory the group once held, some Iraqi officials worry that the Mosul fight has been rushed and if the city is retaken without a plan to broker a peace, it could lead to more violence.  (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE -- In this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces gather ahead of an operation to re-take the Islamic State-held City of Mosul, outside Irbil, Iraq. Iraqi forces appear poised to launch their most complex anti-IS operation to date: retaking the country’s second largest city of Mosul. While the country’s military has won a string of territorial victories that have pushed IS out of more than half of the territory the group once held, some Iraqi officials worry that the Mosul fight has been rushed and if the city is retaken without a plan to broker a peace, it could lead to more violence. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi state television says Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the start of operations to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

State TV showed a brief written statement in the early hours Monday announcing the start of the widely anticipated military offensive to drive IS out of Iraq's second largest city.

The push to retake Mosul will be the biggest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011 and, if successful, the strongest blow yet to the Islamic State.