In a new video short purportedly released by the Islamic State, ISIS militants in Tal Afar, west of Mosul, Iraq, pledge to fight the coalition siege of the major Iraqi city until death. The video was released by the Amaq News “agency” on ISIS terrorist channels on October 20 with the caption: “Islamic State Fighters Pledge to Fight Until Death in #TalAfar, West of #Mosul.”
Like Mosul, Tal Afar is in the ISIS-occupied area of “Wilayat Ninawa,” which is part of the Nineveh Governorate of Iraq.
In the video, ISIS militants are seen gathered in a circle with their arms outstretched and their hands piled in the center. After pledging to fight the American coalition until death, they cheer and do the ISIS index finger salute.
When ISIS militants hold up a single index finger on their right hands, they are alluding to the tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion… But for ISIS, the symbol is more sinister than a mere declaration of monotheistic beliefs. As Salafi jihadists, members of the group adhere to a fundamentalist interpretation of tawhid that rejects non-fundamentalist regimes as idolatrous. In other words, the concept of tawhid is central to ISIS’ violent and uncompromising posture toward its opponents, both in the Middle East and in the West.
Last week, the American coalition, consisting of the Iraqi Army, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militias, Christian militias, and the Turkish Nineveh Guard, descended upon Mosul to free it from the Islamic State. The official operation began on October 17 when it was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
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