A Nine News reporter has encountered ISIS fighters whilst reporting from the outskirts of the city of Mosul in Iraq.
Senior correspondent Mark Burrows was filming with cameraman Adam Bovino in the war zone when gunfire rang out, forcing them to take shelter.
Burrows had been travelling through Iraq for a week when he encountered the terrifying situation.
Rocket propelled grenades, tanks and Australian fighter jets were involved in the attack.
“We’ve just made contact with some ISIS militants,” Burrows says, as he cowers behind a wall, in a video of the incident released by the Nine Network.
Watch video footage of the attack above
Mosul is an Islamic State stronghold and the site of an ongoing conflict between the coalition of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers and ISIS sleeper cells.
Speaking to The New Daily from Iraq, Burrows said the incident was by far the most “confronting” he’d encountered.
“I think it is there’s a reality that certainly strikes you,” he said, revealing the insurgents had been as close as 500 metres away from him.
The veteran reporter admitted he had been struck by the ISIS militants’ “defiance”.
“I’ve been shocked and surprised by their ingenuity, the scale at which they have dug in,” Burrows said.
“We were looking at a network of tunnels they built – a 4km tunnel they’d built to avoid detection. They are very crafty, they will stop at nothing and they are brutal.
“They’ve now been in Mosul for two years, so heaven knows what they’ve organised,” he said.
— Mark Burrows (@MarkWBurrows) October 28, 2016
Burrows described the situation in Mosul as “terrible” and “ominous”.
“You’ve got a force of nearly 30,000 closing in on ISIS in Mosul and ISIS have about 5000-6000 soldiers inside the city,” Burrows explained.
“What’s happening is these forces are getting closer, but as they move forward they get slower.
“I spoke to one guy today who said it was going to take up to two months before they get to Mosul and there’s a bit of evidence that ISIS has been abducting people from nearby villages and dragging them back into Mosul to use as human shields.”
Burrows said the villages he had been visiting were completely abandoned save for soldiers.
“There’s no one at all. Where we were the last 24 hours you don’t see a soul, you don’t see a dog, you don’t see any signs of life, except the sound of gunfire and fighter jets over head.”
Burrows said he wasn’t sure when he’d be able to return to the safety of Australia.
“I’m not sure,” he said, “but I think we will probably have a break to regroup.”