IS still has three “armies” between Iraq and Syria, he added, each of which he estimates has around 12,000 fighters — “Jaish al-Khilafat, Jaish al-Usra and Jaish al-Dabiq” — making a total of 36,000 armed men.
He added, “Where are all the bodies of those killed? We saw the corpses in Anbar, we saw them in Salahuddin. Where are all these dead IS in Mosul?”
Hashimi said that many of the key figures and fighters are thought to have left for Al-Baaj, between when the operation to take the eastern part of Mosul began on Oct. 17 last year and the beginning of this year.
Of the 43 “founding members” of IS, Hashimi noted, 42 have been killed and only one has not, while all of the about 70 “first level” leaders have been killed and subsequently replaced since August 2014.
The transnational terrorist organization took Mosul in June 2014 but had existed in various forms in Iraq for many years before.
Since the operation began in October last year to retake the key city, Hashimi estimates that roughly 3,500 IS members have been killed and about 50,000 have died since August 2014.
And although IS “might lose militarily, their propaganda wing will continue” and “the hidden men of IS are the most important. We don’t know who they are. There is no information about them in the databases. Their neighbors don’t even know who they are,” Hashimi said.
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