Iraqi Prime Minister Arrives in Mosul to Declare Victory Over ISIS

After the Islamic State seized Mosul in 2014, many Sunnis welcomed them. Mr. Maliki was then removed from office, replaced by Haider al-Abadi, a more moderate and less-sectarian leader, but one widely viewed as weak. Under Mr. Abadi, there has been no meaningful reconciliation.

“I will leave Mosul because it has become a destroyed city,” said Aisha Abdullah, a teacher who endured life under the Islamic State. “In every corner of it there is memory and blood.”

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And while the Islamic State, with its harsh rule, alienated many of the Sunni residents it sought to represent, many residents said its ideology caught on among some of the population, especially young men.

“There is no use in reconstructing the city if the people of Mosul don’t change,” Ms. Abdullah said. “There are still many people who assist ISIS, and the acts of violence will never end.”

Marwan Saeed, another Mosul resident, who lives in the city’s east side, which was liberated in January and where life has largely been restored to normal, with schools and shops reopening and most civilians returning home, said he feared for the future, now more than ever.

“Frankly, I’m desperate over the future,” he said. “ISIS destroyed the people’s mentality, and the wars destroyed the infrastructure, and we paid the price. There is no such thing as the phase after ISIS. ISIS is a mentality, and this mentality will not end with guns alone.”

And there is the fear that many Islamic State fighters who were not captured or killed had simply put down their guns and blended in with the civilian population, to live to fight another day.

The wives of Islamic State fighters also pose a risk. In the last week, a woman holding a baby and wearing a long-sleeved robe that disguised a hand-held detonator attempted to blow herself up as she approached an Iraqi soldier, said Second Lt. Muntather Laft, a media officer with the Counterterrorism Services unit.

“Do you know that most of the ISIS fighters have shaved their beards and took off their clothes, and now they are free?” said Zuhair Hazim al-Jibouri, a member of Mosul’s local council.

Rukmini Callimachi and Falih Hassan contributed reporting from Mosul, Iraq, Omar al-Jawoshy contributed from Baghdad and an employee of The New York Times from Erbil, Iraq.


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