Denham Hitchcock: The beginning of the end

Denham Hitchcock

Why it’s taken four years to get to this point I will never know.

But sitting in the back of a Humvee with Iraq’s equivalent of the special forces, it occurs to me that this is finally the beginning of the end for Islamic State.

Iraq’s Golden Division as they’re known, have battled their way, street by street, house by house through the maze of suburbia that is Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and once, home to more than two million people.

Denham Hitchcock with a captured vehicle car bomb in eastern Mosul.

For two weeks, they allowed me to go with them as they hunted down and flushed out these fanatical fighters who are so willing to die.

Every one of those soldiers have lost friends and family, they have witnessed atrocities beyond comprehension. They have faced more than 1000 car bombs, countless IED’s, beheadings drowning’s and crucifixions. The Major General leading the entire assault, close to tears recounts how his cousins were drowned in a cage, the video placed on youtube for him to watch.

I remember that I am simply a tourist here. A tourist with a camera and a story to tell. These soldiers are in it to the bitter end. A suicidal army making its final stand in the city they dubbed their spiritual home, where they announced their so called caliphate.

Denham and Major General Najim al-Jubouri of the Iraqi army.

During my time with these men I witnessed many things. Our convoy and our team was shot at, at one stage we had Islamic State drones, rigged to drop grenades, following our every move.

I met a remarkable woman who is high on the Islamic State hit list for speaking out against this murderous cult through song. I walked through the endless refugee camps with an Australian woman trying her best to rescue the minds of the tens of thousands of troubled children left behind.

My job is to report on a war that’s being fought on behalf of all of us. But it’s hard to remain impartial. I offer no question or judgement when the Major General tells me straight, “I want to kill them all”.

Watch Denham's investigation from the frontline of Mosul: Sunday 8.30pm on Channel 7.