>> The battle to retake Mosul is on. Iraqi forces beginning their assault on the Islamic State held city. Armored units rolling in during the small hours of the night, about 30,000 troops taking part. They include Iraqi regulars, Kurdish Peshmerga militia, and Sunni tribal fighters. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirming the attack in a statement early Monday.
>> The hour of victory has arrived and operations for the liberation of Mosul have begun. I announce today the start of these heroic operations to free you from the terror and the oppression of Daesh. God willing, soon, we will meet on Mosul soil to celebrate liberation and your salvation, and we will live once again with all our religions and sects together.
>> Few expect the battle to be easy, IS thought to have between 4 and 8,000 fighters in the city. It may also be using civilians as a human shield. And the stakes couldn't be higher. Mosul is the jihadhi's defacto capital in Iraqi. It's where the so called caliphate was first declared.
But concern too about what happens after the city is freed. The local Sunni population worried about reprisals by Shiite groups. Abadi now trying to allay those fears. He says only the Iraqi army and police will enter Mosul. Shiite militia will be confined to the outskirts. Even so, winning the peace may prove as hard as winning the battle.