Senior Kurdish official Hoshiyar Zebari said his forces had “solid” intelligence al-Baghdadi was somewhere in the Iraqi city of more than a million people and up to 6,000 ISIS fighters. The ISIS leader is likely with the group’s bomb maker Fawzi Ali Nouimeh, Kurdish officials told Reuters.
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, fell to ISIS in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country’s north and central areas. Weeks later, al-Baghdadi announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque.
Zebari said ISIS was “disoriented, they don’t know whether to expect attacks from the east or west or north.”
If successful, the liberation of Mosul would represent the biggest blow yet to ISIS. After a string of victories by Iraqi ground forces over the past year, the terror group now controls less than half the territory it once held, and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has pledged the fight for Mosul will lead to the liberation of all Iraqi territory from the militants this year.
SOURCE: News Now/ Reuters