Christchurch terror attack: US to wipe out Islamic State after retaliation threat

The US President says his forces will destroy the final enclave of Islamic State (IS) in Syria within a matter of hours.

Speaking to media as he left the White House, Trump showed two maps of Islamic State's territory across Syria and Iraq - one on the day he was elected, and another now.

US President Donald Trump shows maps of Syria and Iraq depicting the size of the "ISIS physical caliphate".
US President Donald Trump shows maps of Syria and Iraq depicting the size of the "ISIS physical caliphate". Photo credit: Reuters

The map now shows just a "tiny spot" in Syria - and Trump told reporters it "will be gone by tonight". He said 400 US troops would stay in Syria indefinitely.

Trump's bold statement was made less than two days after IS called for retaliatory attacks in the wake of a terror attack against against Muslims at two Christchurch mosques last week.

IS's official spokesperson broke a lengthy silence to issue a 45-minute-long audio recording promising vengeance after the shootings - an appalling act of violent terrorism that claimed 50 lives.

Rukmini Callimachi, the New York Times journalist who broke the story and has written extensively about the caliphate, said "almost every major jihadist group" had vowed retaliation.

But it appears IS may not be in a position to retaliate.

The terror organisation has had a brutal reign as the most prominent jihadist group for more than a decade, but since 2015 has been under military pressure that has shrunk its influence.

In February, it was reported that all that was left of IS was a territory was an encircled pocket less than 1 square kilometre. US-backed insurgents had reclaimed most of that remaining pocket of land by Tuesday.

Newshub.

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