U.S. jets dropped leaflets on the militant-held Iraqi city of Mosul urging residents to stand up extremist fighters who overran it last month, an eyewitness told NBC News on Thursday. A photograph of one of the leaflets – written in Arabic and stamped by Iraq's Ministry of Defense – was also posted on two Twitter accounts believed to be linked to Iraqi authorities. They contained a message urging citizens to support security forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which was described as an "ignorant atheist expansion." The leaflets also said it was "time that we all stand together on the land of our sacred city."
Iraqi and Kurdish forces have made ground against ISIS in recent weeks, backed by U.S. airstrikes and weapons from Europe. Earlier this week, the forces managed to retake the Mosul Dam, which provides the country with much of its water. It was not clear whether the leaflets were a precursor to a potential offensive seeking to retake Mosul itself, which has become an ISIS stronghold.
- Alexander Smith and Mohammed Muslemany
First published August 21 2014, 5:36 AM