A chilling new ISIS video shows masked gunmen vowing to ‘humiliate America’ as they patrol the streets of Mosul.
The footage comes after this week’s launch of an unprecedented offensive to take back the city, in what is thought to be the largest ground operation since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
It shows jihadist fighters in full battledress marching up and down a road in a deserted thoroughfare that they claim is their Iraqi stronghold.
Armed jihadist fighters patrol up and down the streets of Mosul preparing to fend off an unprecedented offensive to retake the city
A masked fighter also addresses the camera, declaring the allied forces will be defeated in Iraq.
‘As for you, America, we promise you… America will be defeated in Iraq and will leave, God willing, again – humiliated, wretched, dragging its tail in defeat,’ he says.
IS-linked Amaq news agency released the video on Tuesday, but there was no way to independently verify its contents.
It comes as government troops and Kurdish Peshmerga forces are being supported by the US-led coalition to retake the last major Iraqi city held by IS.
A masked gunman vows to ‘humiliate America’ in a terrifying new video made by IS
The crucial battle for Mosul will soon enter its third day, and commanders have said progress is already being made.
Iraqi forces have even been said to be ‘ahead of schedule’ as they push into the dusty plains surrounding the city, reports AFP.
More than 40,000 Iraqi and Kurd troops are leading the offensive, backed by air and ground support from a 60-nation US-led coalition, in what is expected to be a long and difficult assault.
From the south the Iraqi army are just 24 miles away, with Kurdish fighters 19 miles to the east.
Yet there is still a large amount of ground to cover before the city boundaries can be breached, with berms, bombs and burning oil trenches blocking the way.
As many as 5,000 IS soldiers are thought to remain in Mosul, with US President Barack Obama warning of the tough battle ahead.
Heavily armoured military vehicles head towards Mosul on Tuesday in a major offensive
‘Ahead of schedule’: Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers stand above a tunnel dug by ISIS
Long road ahead: The battle looks set to be lengthy affair that could last monthsm according to the French Defence Minister
During a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi he said: ‘Mosul will be a difficult fight. There will be advances and there will be setbacks.’
Even though the IS forces are vastly outnumbered, the battle looks set to be lengthy affair that could last months, according to the French Defence Minister.
‘It’s not a Blitzkrieg’: French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warns the offensive will take time
Jean-Yves Le Drian said it won’t be a ‘Blitzkrieg’, a lightning war achieving success in a short period of time.
‘It’s a city of a million-and-a-half inhabitants, so this is an affair that will last a long time,’ he said, adding that the offensive is ‘essential’ to prevent new IS attacks.
French war planes are supporting the military campaign on the ground, where US, British and French special forces are advising local troops.
But most of the coalition’s backing has come from air strikes, which reportedly destroyed 52 targets on the first day of the operation.
Despite the warnings of a protracted assault, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said: ‘Early indications are that Iraqi forces have met their objectives so far, and that they are ahead of schedule for this first day.’
The UN is expecting people to start fleeing the city ‘basically any minute now’, fearing IS soldiers will use the escaping residents as human shields.
And humanitarian agencies have warned the battle could unleash the ‘worst man-made humanitarian crisis’ seen in modern times.
‘In a worst-case scenario, we’re literally looking at the single largest humanitarian operation in the world in 2016,’ said Lise Grande from the UN.
‘In Mosul, depending on what happens militarily, a million people could move in a time span of a couple of weeks.’
As the battle got underway, terrifying body cam footage captured the fierce fighting between the two sides.
A Kurdish fighter filmed the moment he sprinted across open land amid deafening gunfire and explosions during one of the early advances.
ISIS fanatics ran around ‘like rats’ as they emerged from a network of tunnels to surprise the soldiers with suicide attacks.
There are fears they will use chemical weapons, snipers, and booby traps to desperately defend their position.