The leader of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS), in a rare video on Thursday urged his fighters to hold their ground in Mosul, where Iraqi forces are leading a battle to retake the Sunni extremists’ stronghold. “Do not retreat,” the reclusive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said in a more than half hour long video released by an IS-affiliated outlet. “Holding your ground with honor is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame.”
If authentic, it would be the first video in nearly a year from Baghdadi, who told IS fighters to make the enemy’s “blood flow like rivers” and “decimate their territories.” Iraqi government forces, Shiite militia and Kurdish forces backed by the United States launched a major operation in mid-October to retake Mosul from IS, which captured the city of nearly a million people in June 2014.
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