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Pictures | Mon Mar 6, 2017 | 3:15pm GMT

Islamic State's underground training camp

Members of the rapid response forces inspect a tunnel was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in the hillside overlooking Mosul, Iraq. In less turbulent times, trains ran through it on their way to or from Mosul, but when the militants overran the area in the summer of 2014, they barricaded both ends, ripped up the tracks and built an assault course inside, on which to train their recruits. The tunnel - about 7 m (yards) high by 5 m (yards) wide, and around half a kilometre (0.3 mile) in length - features a series of obstacles, which one soldier tried out. "Their training is similar to ours," said Kadhem al-Gharrawi, a member of the Rapid Response Division, an elite Interior Ministry Unit. "It's tough training for special forces."

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Members of the rapid response forces inspect a tunnel was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in the hillside overlooking Mosul, Iraq. In less turbulent times, trains ran through it on their way to or from Mosul, but when...more

Members of the rapid response forces inspect a tunnel was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in the hillside overlooking Mosul, Iraq. In less turbulent times, trains ran through it on their way to or from Mosul, but when the militants overran the area in the summer of 2014, they barricaded both ends, ripped up the tracks and built an assault course inside, on which to train their recruits. The tunnel - about 7 m (yards) high by 5 m (yards) wide, and around half a kilometre (0.3 mile) in length - features a series of obstacles, which one soldier tried out. "Their training is similar to ours," said Kadhem al-Gharrawi, a member of the Rapid Response Division, an elite Interior Ministry Unit. "It's tough training for special forces." REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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The mouth of the tunnel is hardly visible on a muddy hillside overlooking Mosul, where fighting now rages between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. Iraqi forces discovered the underground training camp after regaining control of the hillside last month in the early stages of a campaign to dislodge Islamic State militants from Mosul's western half. Locals tipped them off about the location of the camp, which reveals the extent of Islamic State�s determination, despite the overwhelming number and firepower of the forces arrayed against it, which are backed by a U.S.-led coalition.

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

The mouth of the tunnel is hardly visible on a muddy hillside overlooking Mosul, where fighting now rages between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. Iraqi forces discovered the underground training camp after regaining control of the hillside...more

The mouth of the tunnel is hardly visible on a muddy hillside overlooking Mosul, where fighting now rages between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. Iraqi forces discovered the underground training camp after regaining control of the hillside last month in the early stages of a campaign to dislodge Islamic State militants from Mosul's western half. Locals tipped them off about the location of the camp, which reveals the extent of Islamic State�s determination, despite the overwhelming number and firepower of the forces arrayed against it, which are backed by a U.S.-led coalition. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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A view of Islamic State slogans painted along the walls of the tunnel that was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in Mosul, Iraq. "By the will of God, we will conquer Rome," reads one mural painted on the wall of the tunnel against the background of a blood red sun. 

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

A view of Islamic State slogans painted along the walls of the tunnel that was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in Mosul, Iraq. "By the will of God, we will conquer Rome," reads one mural painted on the wall of the...more

A view of Islamic State slogans painted along the walls of the tunnel that was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in Mosul, Iraq. "By the will of God, we will conquer Rome," reads one mural painted on the wall of the tunnel against the background of a blood red sun. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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A view of Islamic State slogans painted along the walls of the tunnel. It is not clear how many recruits passed through the camp or what became of them. The physical drills complemented the group's ideological training, evidence of which is contained in booklets littering the floor of the tunnel, detailing its uncompromising doctrine. A leaflet titled "Types of Idolatry", lies beside empty cartons of orange juice drunk by the recruits and packaging of the boots and balaclava headgear they wore.

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

A view of Islamic State slogans painted along the walls of the tunnel. It is not clear how many recruits passed through the camp or what became of them. The physical drills complemented the group's ideological training, evidence of which is contained...more

A view of Islamic State slogans painted along the walls of the tunnel. It is not clear how many recruits passed through the camp or what became of them. The physical drills complemented the group's ideological training, evidence of which is contained in booklets littering the floor of the tunnel, detailing its uncompromising doctrine. A leaflet titled "Types of Idolatry", lies beside empty cartons of orange juice drunk by the recruits and packaging of the boots and balaclava headgear they wore. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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Near the start of the assault course lie several backpacks full of sand, which were worn by recruits to weigh them down as they went over the obstacles, to increase the difficulty. After coming off the death slide, recruits would have swung along monkey bars and then thrown themselves flat to crawl under barbed wire, past the words "We will prevail despite the global Crusader alliance" painted on the wall. Red arrows point to the direction in which they were supposed to scramble over a wall - still covered in scuff marks made by their boots.

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Near the start of the assault course lie several backpacks full of sand, which were worn by recruits to weigh them down as they went over the obstacles, to increase the difficulty. After coming off the death slide, recruits would have swung along...more

Near the start of the assault course lie several backpacks full of sand, which were worn by recruits to weigh them down as they went over the obstacles, to increase the difficulty. After coming off the death slide, recruits would have swung along monkey bars and then thrown themselves flat to crawl under barbed wire, past the words "We will prevail despite the global Crusader alliance" painted on the wall. Red arrows point to the direction in which they were supposed to scramble over a wall - still covered in scuff marks made by their boots. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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The recruits appear to have slept there some of the time: bedding is strewn in two chambers dug into the sides of the tunnel, including a pink duvet cover decorated with cartoon character Mickey Mouse.

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

The recruits appear to have slept there some of the time: bedding is strewn in two chambers dug into the sides of the tunnel, including a pink duvet cover decorated with cartoon character Mickey Mouse. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

The recruits appear to have slept there some of the time: bedding is strewn in two chambers dug into the sides of the tunnel, including a pink duvet cover decorated with cartoon character Mickey Mouse. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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The militants also installed lighting in the tunnel, powered by a generator set in the hillside. There was a medical clinic in a portacabin, as well as four shower cubicles and a place to perform ablutions before prayer in a tunnel section labelled "mosque".

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

The militants also installed lighting in the tunnel, powered by a generator set in the hillside. There was a medical clinic in a portacabin, as well as four shower cubicles and a place to perform ablutions before prayer in a tunnel section labelled...more

The militants also installed lighting in the tunnel, powered by a generator set in the hillside. There was a medical clinic in a portacabin, as well as four shower cubicles and a place to perform ablutions before prayer in a tunnel section labelled "mosque". REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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Another area was designated for washing dishes, not far from the slogan: "Heaven is jihad in the path of God". 

REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Another area was designated for washing dishes, not far from the slogan: "Heaven is jihad in the path of God". REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Another area was designated for washing dishes, not far from the slogan: "Heaven is jihad in the path of God". REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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