The battle for Mosul has begun.
This is big. Mosul is big. This offensive will be really, really big. Mosul is the most populous city under ISIS control. It's their capital in Iraq.
"You killed my friend. But I’ve come here to feed you."
Sadiq crouched low, holding a bottle of cold water to the man’s lips. We were astonished by what he said, there in a crowded detainee compound in the middle of the desert outside Fallujah, where hundreds of suspected ISIS militants are held.
On this mission, we set out to feed our enemies and clothe captives with dignity.
The video showed an Iraqi teenager, waist encircled by an explosive belt. He was captured just before he could blow himself up.
The footage made headlines around the world, but there’s more to the story than what you saw on the news.
For 1,800 people a day streaming out ISIS-held territory in Iraq, passing through a military checkpoint is no guarantee of safety.
Earlier today, ISIS launched a rocket attack on a refugee center near Tikrit, about 90 miles north of Baghdad—and the world barely noticed. At least 13 people were killed when six mortars struck their camp. Dozens more were injured, some critically.
They’re some of the toughest men on earth.
Men who stare death in the face. Men who stand up to ISIS. Men who refuse to abandon their families—even when their homeland is overrun by militants bent on their destruction.
If you think "refugee" equals "weak," then you don't know these men.
It was supposed to be a normal aid delivery.
Two trucks carrying 100,000 pounds of food for those who fled Fallujah. Our destination was one of the neediest, most underserved camps in all of Fallujah, if not all of Iraq.
After a few hours on the road, the trucks were stopped, not by the typical holdups like security officials wanting to check papers. Both trucks got stuck in a massive rut. Members of the team spent hours trying to free them, toiling in 110-degree heat—but to no avail, The trucks weren’t budging.
This morning, we delivered lifesaving food and water for 500 families within the active militarized zone around Fallujah.
That’s what you made happen today.
Fallujah is one tough town.
Sun-baked and stubborn, Fallujans are famously unwilling to bend a knee to anyone—British colonizers, the United States army, ISIS, or now the Iraqi government.
These people and their ferocity, it’s one reason we love them. It’s true they are fierce fighters, but they love, befriend, and defend their own with equal ferocity.