Iraqi Security Forces uncovered an elite Islamic State training center built inside a former train tunnel during the Battle for Mosul.
The nearly half-mile long tunnel is emblazoned with ISIS murals and slogans, along with a series of obstacles. The tunnel also included a medical facility, showers, and even a mosque and lighting was powered by a nearby generator.
ISIS left behind backpacks that were filled with sand, to simulate running with heavy gear. Reuters noted that the course included slides, monkey bars, and barbed wire cages that ISIS fighters had to crawl under. When they emerged from the barbed wire they were faced with a mural defiantly reading “we will prevail despite the global Crusader alliance.”
The Mosul facility highlights the lengths to which ISIS has gone to train its special operations corps, something the group pioneered in its territory in Syria.
ISIS’s special operators are not allowed to be married and serve as infiltration force in major urban battles. ISIS also recruits its most elite suicide bombers for foreign plots from within its special operations corps, according to a former member’s testimony to The New York Times.
“There was one boy who refused to get up, because he was just too exhausted,” the former ISIS terrorist said. He continued, “So they tied him to a pole with his legs and his arms and left him there.”
The Syrian training facility is disguised in a network of caves covered in mud to shield their discovery from U.S. surveillance drones. The recruits in Syria underwent grueling physical training, weapons training, and even learned how to scuba dive.
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