General: Mosul battle is hard, but Raqqa will be harder
Iraq’s battle to reclaim Mosul from the Islamic State group is progressing despite “stiff” resistance from resilient and creative fighters, but a coming offensive to oust them from their main Syria stronghold at Raqqa poses tougher political challenges and could take longer, the U.S. commander of anti-IS coalition forces said Wednesday.
Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend also said American intelligence has detected indistinct signs of Islamic State plotting against the West from Raqqa, adding urgency to coalition plans to encircle and eventually assault the city.
“We know they’re up to something, and it’s an external plot,” the general told reporters at the Pentagon, speaking from his headquarters in Baghdad. “We don’t know exactly where” they intend to strike, he added. “We don’t know exactly when.”
“We know this plot-and-planning is emanating from Raqqa.”