(CNN)The offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIS control has begun, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a televised statement early Monday.
“Our dearest people in Nineveh province, the victory bell has rung, and the operations to liberate Mosul have begun,” he said. “I am announcing today the beginning of these heroic operations to liberate you from the brutality and terrorism of ISIS. God willing, we will meet soon on the ground of Mosul where we will all celebrate the liberation and your freedom.”
Only forces with the Iraqi army and National Police will enter the city “and no others,” the Prime Minister said.