ISIS fanatics could use chemical weapons in defence of Iraq’s second city, warns senior coalition officer

ISIS militants are expected to use chemical weapons in a desperate defence of Mosul as Iraqi troops prepare to retake the country’s second city, a senior coalition officer has warned.

The recapture of Mosul, which has been in the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil) for nearly two years, is “inevitable”, but will be a “long, hard road,” said Brig Roger Noble.

The city is believed to have been fortified with tunnel complexes and minefields made up of thousands of homemade bombs. Iraqi commanders backed by US-led air strikes are also likely to face a familiar barrage of suicide bombers both on foot and in vehicles.