July 11, 2017 / 6:33 PM / 2 years ago

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader credits Shi'ite forces for defeat of Sunni militants in Mosul

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday that Iraqi paramilitary Shi’ite forces had played the key role in the routing of Islamic State from their former Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, berating the role played by the U.S. military.

Nasrallah said a religious fatwa by Iraq’s top Shi’ite religious authority Grand Ayattollah Ali al-Sistani after Mosul was captured had galvanised tens of thousands of Shi’ite youths to heed the call to fight the militant Sunni hardliners and said the United States had come late into the battle.

The head of Hezbollah, whose forces play an instrumental role in both Iraq and Syria alongside government forces, said U.S. officials had said the war on Islamic State would take decades and joined late “to become partners in victory”.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Laila Bassam; Editing by Alison Williams

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