PM Abadi urges Iraqi refugees in Germany to return home, heralds victory

Baghdad - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abad urged Iraqi refugees in Germany to return home, saying that their return would be in the country’s interest as victory against Islamic State militants nears.

Iraqi media outlets quoted Abadi saying in an interview with German newspaper Bild that he wants Iraqis to return home as part of plans to rebuild the country.

“It is in our interest that our citizens return, we do not want them to be obliged to leave the country and turn into refugees. We are rebuilding regions and want people to be able to live here again,” websites quoted him saying during the interview.

“The war in Mosul will be over very soon, and we have almost reached the city’s center at the western part,” Abadi stated, stressing that operations had been very successful that it that militants had to choose between escaping or getting killed.

The Iraqi government said earlier this month that over four million people had been displaced inside Iraq since Islamic State extremists took over large areas of Iraq in 2014, adding that the government spent 300 billion dinars since then to cater for refugees.

The United Nations and Iraqi refugee bodies have warned that battles between IS abd Iraqi security forces in western Mosul could displace at least 250.000 out of 750.000 estimated to be trapped under IS control therel. Upon the launch of operations to recapture eastern Mosul last October, the United Nations predicted 1.5 million refugees.