In May 2014, Iraqi Staff Gen. Talib Shagati Mshari Alkinani, commander of the Iraqi Joint Special Operations Command, visited the U.S. Special Operations Command war game center at MacDill Air Force Base and talked about a dangerous new group of jihadis that was only beginning to garner attention.

Calling itself Islamic State, the group had already taken over the Syrian city of Raqqa, which it declared the capital of its caliphate, and the Iraqi city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. But it would be another month before it took over the Iraqi city of Mosul, its biggest conquest, which really thrust it onto the global stage,

Tuesday, at the Global SOF Foundation Symposium at the Innisbrook Country Club in Palm Harbor, Alkinani delivered his message about Islamic State and what it’s been like to fight the organization headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ever since.

Two years ago in Tampa, “I mentioned that we are going to face another terrorist organization they are calling ISIS,” Alkinani said through a translator during a panel discussion on urban warfare. “At that time, the audience was saying that it would only be in Iraq … and not in another country.”

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