BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — China on Tuesday voiced support for Iraq in fighting terrorism as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a major offensive to retake its second largest city, Mosul, from the Islamic State (IS) group.

"China supports the Iraqi government's efforts to maintain national stability and fight terrorism. China hopes for national security and stability in Iraq at an early date," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing.

Abadi pledged to rebuild Mosul and other towns and villages in Nineveh province after they were destroyed by the extremist IS militants, and vowed to bring stability to Mosul, which is located some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Mosul, the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, has been under IS control since June 2014.