Fierce fighting has been reported on the outskirts of Baghdad where ISIS militants are attempting to seize control of the Iraqi capital – despite ongoing Western airstrikes against the terror group.
The fighting is taking place just one mile to the west of the city, with government forces desperately trying to hold off the militants, who allegedly killed up to 1,000 soldiers during clashes yesterday.
ISIS have held a number of towns and villages close to the Iraqi capital since earlier in the year, when government troops melted away following a lightning advance in the west of the country – enabling the terrorist group to seize further swaths of territory for their so-called caliphate.
Reports that ISIS militants are now just one mile from Baghdad came from the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East – an organisation supporting the work of Canon Andrew White, vicar of the city’s St George’s Church, the only Anglican church in Iraq.
In a message posted on Facebook, the group said: ‘The Islamic State are now less than 2km away from entering Baghdad. They said it could never happen and now it almost has.
‘Obama says he overestimated what the Iraqi Army could do. Well you only need to be hear a very short while to know they can do very very little,’ they added.
The claims were backed up by Canon White himself, who shared the message just hours after he had earlier suggested the group were approximately six miles from the centre of Baghdad.
In a message he also posted on Facebook, Canon White had said: ‘The Islamic State are now within 10km of entering Baghdad. Over a 1000 Iraqi troops were killed by them yesterday, things are so bad. As I said all the military air strikes are doing nothing. If ever we needed your prayer it is now.’
The militants are understood to have had their advance halted by airstrikes yesterday at Ameriyat Al-Falluja yesterday – a small city about 18 miles south of Fallujah and 40 miles west of Baghdad.
But the clashes did not force the bulk of the fighters – with many of them now having made their way to the Baghdad suburbs for this morning’s fighting.