As Iraqi troops continue their push to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reminded militants Thursday there could be "no retreat."
"This raging battle and total war, and the great jihad that the state of Islam is fighting today, only increases our firm belief, God willing, and our conviction that all this is a prelude to victory," al-Baghdadi told supporters in an audio message distributed by one of the terrorist group's media channels. CBS News reported this statement was the leader's first message since Iraqi troops launched the offensive more than two weeks ago.
Iraqi troops have now breached Mosul's city limits. CNN said this progress will "likely trigger the fiercest fighting yet, and that the battle is expected to be fought 'street to street,' or even 'house to house.'" About 1.5 million people still live in the city, which is ISIS's last major stronghold in Iraq.