Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014
A 74-year-old German author who gained unprecedented access to ISIS militants in Iraq has described the terrorist group as having “the power of a nuclear bomb or a tsunami.”
Juergen Todenhoefer travelled to Mosul, the largest city controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham. He described seeing first-hand how the population is controlled by the militants.
Bookshops are filled with tomes describing how to treat slaves, while public dress is strictly monitored so as not to “resemble those worn by infidel women or men”, Todenhoefer told German media.
Todenhoefer met recruits from Europe, the U.S. and even the Caribbean, as well as gun-wielding child soldiers swearing their allegiance to the caliphate. The German author said he was most disturbed by his conversations with ISIS militants, who insisted that “all religions who agree with democracy have to die,” and that ISIS intends to “conquer the world.” “This is the largest religious cleansing strategy that has ever been planned in human history,” he told the RTL channel. “With every bomb that is dropped and hits a civilian, the number of terrorists increases.”
Todenhoefer’s unprecedented six-day access to ISIS was negotiated through a German jihadist, with permission issued by “the office of the Caliphate,” he said.
The former German politician was accompanied by his son, who was unwilling to let his father travel to Mosul alone. Toedenhoefer would have been subject to strict rules governing journalists, which include swearing allegiance and loyalty to Caliph Al-Baghdadi and submitting all material to ISIS censorship prior to publication. Figures released Tuesday showed that more than 1,171 people, the vast majority of them ISIS militants, have been killed in Syria during three months of U.S.-led strikes, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Only 52 casualties were civilians, said the Observatory’s head, Rami Abdulrahman, who emphasised that the insurgent casualties were likely to be higher.
“This is because of the difficulty of activists reaching areas hit by the coalition and also because the Islamic State keeps a tight lid on its human losses,” Abdulrahman told Reuters.
Up to Dec 15, the U.S. had launched 488 air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria, according to U.S. military data cited by Reuters.