ASTANA (Kazakhstan): With almost 70 per cent of its Islamic State-occupied territories liberated, Iraq is moving ahead with plans to free the remaining areas by year end.
Former Iraqi deputy prime minister Hussain al-Shahristani said its military had eliminated about 28,000 militants with 50 per cent being killed in the city of Mosul alone.
"The remaining mission to combat against 4,000 terrorists occupying three areas expected to be done soon, out of which 2,000 will be eliminated in Tal Afa.
"As battle ends today (Sunday), it should bring the total number of terrorists killed in Iraq to 30,000. Iraq is determine to free all territories before the end of this year," said Hussain, who was also the country's foreign minister.
Hussain said 34,000 civilians and 11,000 combatants had lost their lives in the hands of the terrorist group with most of them killed in mass execution, resisted the occupational of their towns or while fleeing.
"Protection of civilians remains the country' priority, that is why the battle took almost seven months as the forces need to exercise care when executing their operations.
"Despite the great losses, Iraq will not stop until every square metre of our homeland is free." he said.
Hussain was speaking during the plenary session of the 62nd Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affair: Confronting New Nuclear Dangers here yesterday.
The force's battle against IS, he said, has been getting overwhelming support from Iraqis with their counter terrorism unit receiving 300,000 applications for a 3,000 vacant positions.
Hussain also said there was a need for the rest of the world, especially Muslim nations, to counter the misleading ideology of IS through education.
He said Muslim scholars need to reevaluate the interpretation of selected classical and medieval texts on jihad.
"The longer it takes for us to sit together to reach a peaceful solution to political differences the more blood will be shed to reach the same result.
"The group had recruited tens of thousands foreign fighters worldwide and their influence had expanded into Libya, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Asia.
"We need to find the root cause of why these young Muslims are attracted to become jihadist and what can be done collectively.
"There are a combination of factors that contribute to the rise of radicalisation, violence and terrorism among youth which include political, economic and social grievances." he said.
It was reported on Sunday that Iraqi forces have retaken almost all of Tal Afar, IS’ stronghold in the north-west of the country.
The military said the US-backed operation comes just over a month after Mosul was retaken from the terror group, ending its three-year rule over Iraq’s second city.