Many argue that ISIS is close to death. But whatever happens in Raqqa, ISIS’s cause will live on.
Three years after it emerged, the Islamic State is said to be on the road to defeat. In recent months, ISIS has suffered stinging reverses. This week, with its grip over Mosul being pried off by the Iraqi army, ISIS destroyed the al-Nuri mosque where Omar al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in June 2014.
Dohuk, Iraq–Hanzad Morat was only three when she was kidnapped by Islamic State. By the time she was released back to her family, two and half years later, she could not remember her own name or native language.
Speaking from a refugee camp in Duhok, the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq, the newly freed six-year-old Yazidi recalls the day Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants captured her family, separated them and sent them to their fates.
Iraqi forces have advanced to the base of the toppled minaret of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, hours after it was destroyed by Islamic State militants, as the bitter eight-month battle to recapture the city reached a tipping point.
The destruction of the mosque marked a pivotal moment in the war against Isis, which declared its now withered caliphate from there three years ago. The terror group’s wanton act of sabotage was widely seen as a harbinger of its imminent defeat.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Dozens of Islamic State members have successfully “returned” to Europe and are poised to carry out attacks in the future, a Gaza-based jihadist who formerly fought in the Islamic State terrorist group claimed during a phone interview.
The Islamic State is crumbling — if too slowly. More than two years have passed since French President François Hollande promised, “We will bomb Raqqa”. Sooner or later, ISIS will probably be reduced to a small enclave with no territorial continuity, and its chief, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, will be eliminated. It would, nevertheless, be most dangerous to dismiss these three years as a short parenthesis: Nazism did not last as long: “just” 12 years in power and five at war with the rest of Europe. The physical and cultural consequences of the Nazi tyranny are, unfortunately, still visible in Europe. The same will be said of the Islamic State. Three years of terror and conquests are not bad in for a war between the Caliphate vs. everyone else.
Hawija (IraqiNews.com) Unknown assailants have badly wounded an Islamic State female vigilante in southwestern Kirkuk in an apparent revenge for abuses against civilians by the group’s religious observants.
A local source told Alsumaria News on Wednesday that unknown attackers broke the teeth of one of Islamic State’s “biters” in Hawija, the group’s major stronghold in southwestern Kirkuk.
Islamic State militants had appointed a women vigilantism division whose members would brutally bite the hands of civilian females who violated the group’s extremist modesty code.
Islamic State fighters have moved to capture a giant cave stronghold from the Taliban that was once Osama bin Laden’s hideout back in the early 2000s, Afghan officials have said. The complex, called Tora Bora, still has strategic and symbolic importance.
Islamic State claims its militants have already captured Tora Bora, AP reported. An audio message broadcast on the jihadists’ Radio Khilafat late on Wednesday claimed that the battle is over.
ISIS is Sharia-compliant in the most literal sense. Its fighters are following the example of Muhammad himself, the warrior prophet of Islam who captured slaves in battle and had sex with them. As the prophet was entitled to take advantage of such fruits of battle according to the Koran, so ISIS believes its fighters are entitled as well. Thus, these savages thought nothing of burning 19 Yazidi girls to death in iron cages after the girls had the temerity to resist having sex with their captors. This atrocity was said by local activists to have taken place recently in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which has currently become a battlefield between ISIS fighters and anti-ISIS coalition forces. An eyewitness reported that the burnings took place in front of hundreds of people.
At the heart of the town that had sheltered him, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s presence still lurked in ransacked files and ruined buildings. It had been four days since the Islamic State fighters had fled Ba’aj, taking with them all they could as they headed for a last stand in the deserts of Syria. But despite their haste, the fleeing extremists left behind clues to how much this small, forsaken corner of north-western Iraq mattered to the world’s most dangerous terror group, and its fugitive leader.
From ‘caliph’ to fugitive – IS leader Baghdadi’s new life on the run
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is on the brink of losing the two main centres of his ‘caliphate’ but even though he is on the run, it may take years to capture or kill him, officials and experts said.
Islamic State fighters are close to defeat in the twin capitals of the group’s territory, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, and officials say Baghdadi is steering clear of both, hiding in thousands of square miles of desert between the two.
“In the end, he will either be killed or captured, he will not be able to remain underground forever,” said Lahur Talabany, the head of counter-terrorism at the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. “But this is a few years away still,” he told Reuters.