Iraqi official: ISIS seeks to join forces with al-Qaeda

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As Iraqi troops move closer to defeating Islamic State fighters in Mosul, the terrorist group is seeking an alliance with al-Qaeda to strengthen its forces.

In a Monday interview, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi claimed to have received the information from Iraqi and regional contacts who are knowledgeable about Iraq, Reuters reported.

“The discussion has started now,” Allawi said. “There are discussions and [dialogues] between messengers representing Baghdadi and representing Zawahiri,” he noted, referring to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The two terrorist groups split from one another in 2014 and have since fought bitterly for recruits, funding, and recognition as the leader of the global jihad. ISIS has been publicly scorned by Zawahiri for its savage methods, which have included beheadings, drownings, and immolation.

According to Allawi, it is unclear how, specifically, the two groups might work together.

In 2014. the Iraqi central government was rocked as ISIS raged across large areas of northern Iraq. From the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul, ISIS leader Baghdadi declared a caliphate over the territory the group controlled, which angered al-Qaeda.

In an effort to drive ISIS from Mosul and the surrounding areas, Iraqi security forces and Shi’ite volunteer fighters—commonly known as the Popular Mobilization Units—joined with an international coalition, including the United States, last October.

According to Iraqi security officials, ISIS has been forced out of the half of Mosul that lies east of the Tigris River, but Iraqi soldiers and their allies are embroiled in challenging battles in the narrow streets of the Old City of Mosul, located west of the river.

ISIS has defended their territory by using suicide bombers, snipers, and armed drones. Iraqi and American security officials report that they have also repeatedly targeted civilians or used them as human shields during the fighting.

Although ISIS is facing defeat in Mosul, it still controls the towns of Qaim, Hawija, and Tal Afar in Iraq, as well as Raqqa in Syria—a town viewed as its capital.

Allawi contends ISIS will not go away, even if it loses its territory in Iraq.

“I can’t see ISIS disappearing into thin air,” Allawi said. It “will remain covertly in sleeping cells,” spreading its “venom all over the world.”

See Dennis Michael Lynch predicting this turn of events in the 2014 video below.

H/T: Reuters

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