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Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend is commanding coalition forces in Iraq as they battle the Islamic State. (AP Photo/Lolita Balder)

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who is commanding coalition forces in Iraq as they battle the Islamic State, predicted the fight against terrorists entrenched in Mosul and Raqqa, Syria could last at least two years.

Townsend told the Daily Beast on Christmas Day that Islamic State militants have begun to employ increasingly brutal tactics against civilians as Iraqi forces and a coalition of Kurdish fighters and irregular militias — which will soon become legally recognized in Iraq under a controversial new law — continue their battle to retake Mosul from terrorists.

“Beheading with a knife isn’t good enough anymore,” Townsend said, noting Islamic State terrorists had used blowtorches, chainsaws and even bulldozers to murder civilians.

Townsend said the roughly two-year fight against the Islamic State would involve driving the terrorists from their strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul before destroying the survivors who flee to the desert between the two cities.

President Obama has weathered criticism for allowing the Islamic State to flourish in the Middle East under his watch.

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