IS calls for attacks on Turkey as Mosul battle grinds on
The Islamic State's new propaganda chief on Monday threatened attacks against Turkish embassies around the world and urged supporters in the flashpoint Iraqi town of Tal Afar near Mosul not to flee as the group fights offensives on different fronts.
"Destroy their vehicles, raid them ... in their shelters so they can taste some of your misery and do not talk yourselves into fleeing," Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer said in an audio recording posted online.
Muhajer also said Islamic State supporters should target "the secular, apostate Turkish government in every security, military, economic and media place even every embassy and consulate that represents it in all the world's countries."
Muhajer replaced the previous IS propaganda chief, Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, who was killed in an air attack in August.
His comments came as an Iraqi assault cntinued on Mosul, the group's chief stronghold in Iraq. Iraqi forces has suffered several setbacks since operations were launced in mid-October, losing 2,000 dead in November.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Monday that two senior Iraqi army officers had been killed in clashes in Sharqat, 90km south of Mosul, during fighting on Sunday.
Residents of western Mosul said Iraqi forces had started bombing areas there as military leaders attempted to open a second front in the city and increase pressure on the few thousand militants estimated to be still left.
A Mosul resident told Reuters on Monday that there had been "constant" air strikes against targets around the airport and in the Tel Roman district on the southwestern edge of the city.
An Iraqi police source, speaking from the front line south west of Mosul, said police rockets or mortars were not yet within range of the edge of the city, Reuters reported
But a military source said French artillery forces, who are supporting the police units, had been firing in the south. The US-led air coalition has also conducted some air strikes.
Militants were reported to be on the move. Residents said they saw 40 or 50 trucks with rocket launchers on top leaving Wadi Agab, an industrial area on the western limits of the city targeted by strikes, and moving to residential areas nearer the expected new front line.
A shop owner near the industrial area said he saw a long queue of pickups leaving the industrial area on Sunday. I counted at least 50," he said.
Mosul is the largest city under IS’s control and defeating the militants would bring down IS self-proclaimed caliphate, which it declared in Iraq and Syria 2014, after taking over large parts of both countries.