Iraq Braced for Battle of Baghdad: Chilling Images ISIS Victory Parade/Orgy of Violence and Beheadings
ISIS militants have held a twisted victory parade after taking the key city of Ramadi in an orgy of violence and beheadings - and the extremists could march on the Iraqi capital Baghdad within the next month.
Mutilated bodies scatter the streets of the 'Gateway of Baghdad', where Islamic State slaughtered around 500 and forced nearly 25,000 to flee their homes over the last few days.
Now ISIS has released images of militants celebrating, children wielding automatic weapons and a fleet of pick-up trucks carrying its jubilant fighters through the blood-stained streets of Ramadi.
Shi'ite fighters have already launched a counter-offensive to recapture the city, but these kinds of tactics play straight into Islamic State's grand plan to spark all-out war in the region, according to the Middle East director of counter-terrorism think-tank RUSI.
Islamic State militants are already marching east towards the Habbaniya army base - around 20 miles east of Ramadi - where a column of 3,000 Shi'ite paramilitaries are amassing, witnesses and a military officer has said.
And if ISIS manage to reach Baghdad, it would be 'utter carnage', Professor Gareth Stansfield told MailOnline.
Scroll down for videos
Show of strength: ISIS flags line the streets of Ramadi as a procession of militants - riding on the backs of Toyota Land Cruisers - parade through the city
Surrounded: ISIS already has control of Fallujah which is on Baghdad's doorstep and has now conquered the strategically important city of Ramadi further west. It has Sunni support to the south of the Iraqi capital and is waging battles with security forces in the north to effectively 'surround' Baghdad
Parade: After slaughtering 500 people and forcing over 8,000 from their homes, ISIS triumphantly drive through Ramadi (pictured) in a fleet of pick-up trucks
Sick: One twisted image released through Islamic State's social media channels shows a small child carrying what appears to be a mortar shell in Ramadi - after their victory in the city
Insurgency: The city where ISIS militants fired rocket propelled grenades contains sacred Shi'ite shrines which - if destroyed - would force the militia to take on ISIS head on, experts have said
Innocence lost: ISIS has released pictures showing its militants - and young followers (pictured) - celebrating the capture of Ramadi as Shi'ite militias prepare a counter-offensive to retake the city
He said: 'If ISIS turn up in great numbers in Baghdad, it will be an absolute slaughter between Sunni's and Shia's there.
'They [ISIS] are now having so many successes, and moving so quickly, that Baghdad is under very real threat from ISIS forces outside Baghdad and also the ISIS terror cells inside Baghdad as well.
'We're in for a very long summer of fighting in Iraq and ISIS could make their move [on Baghdad] in the next month. Taking Ramadi will... make the Shia militia in Baghdad even more radicalised and more dangerous.
'And this is what ISIS wants, it wants it to come out and have sectarian scrap which forces all the Sunni's to go towards ISIS.
Celebration: Hundreds of ISIS fighters carrying the notorious black flag of jihadi groups celebrate in the blood-stained streets of Ramadi (pictured)
Moving on: The ISIS militants who are celebrating battlefield success in Ramadi could soon march to Iraq's capital Baghdad just 60 miles east, experts claim
Cut down in cold blood: Pictures posted on Twitter show bodies of Iraqi soldiers lying strewn across a street in Ramadi after ISIS militants carried out mass killings during their capture of the strategic city
Murdered: A Sunni tribal leader said many tribal fighters died trying in vain to defend the city
'If they had any opportunity to enter Baghdad, they would do. But it will be more and more difficult for them to do it because Baghdad is a military stronghold of the Shia militia.'
And if they manage to actually take Baghdad, which is predominantly Shia but has some Christian regions, Professor Stansfield says 'there would be massacres to the scale we haven't seen since the Mongol empire in the 13th Century'.
The UN said tonight that close to 25,000 people have fled Ramadi after militants attacked the city.
United States-led airstrikes have stepped up raids against the Islamists, conducting 19 strikes near Ramadi over the past 72 hours at the request of the Iraqi security forces, a coalition spokesman said.
And as fighting rages in and around the city, Islamic State fighters are also taking on Iraq's military and tribal groups in the north.
Fleeing: Civilians ran from their homes in Ramadi after Islamic State militants started searching door-to-door for policemen and pro-government fighters
Terror: The streets of Ramadi descended into gridlock as civilians started fleeing from their homes today
Federal police forces arrived from Baghdad and created a barricade to protect the Habaniyah military base near Ramadi
Thousands of ISIS extremists paraded through the streets of Ramadi after capturing the city
Shocking: Images found on Islamic State's various social media channels show tiny children celebrating alongside the militants in Ramadi, where the militants have already begun to execute captives
ISIS are using rocket-propelled grenades to take on the Shi'ite militia 'Popular Mobilisation' in the city of Samarra, 70 miles north of the capital, according to Institute for the Study of War.
Equally brutal battles are taking place in Nebai just 50 miles to the north-west of Iraq, where ISIS has reportedly used 'various weapons' against Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters.
Read the rest here