WASHINGTON - A US military official, who outlined plans to retake the vital Iraq city of Mosul from Islamic State terrorists as early as April, has drawn sharp criticism that the Pentagon was revealing too much information to the enemy.

A senior US Central Command official said the ‘shaping’ for the battle is currently underway, and the Iraqi military hopes to begin operations in the ‘April, May timeframe,’ according to American media reports. The goal is to retake the city before Ramadan begins on June 17.

 ‘I really doubt it is going to happen that soon,’ one military officer told an American news reporting website on condition of anonymity. ‘And if it does, it will take months.’ Several other US military officers told The Daily Beast that the Iraqi forces were not ready to take on the ISi terrorists. They claimed that many of the Iraqi army’s largely Shia troops would not risk their lives to win back a Sunni city.

Pentagon official believe that the planned offensive to retake Mosul would be much harder than the 112-day battle to win back the small northern Syria city of Kobani. While Kobani was almost abandoned when the US-led coalition intensified its airstrikes there to retake the border town, the heavily-populated city of Mosul is arguably the capital of the IS group in Iraq, according to the report.

‘They will fight for Mosul. This is not like Kobani, which was peripheral,’ one US military official told the Daily Beast. ‘They will fight to the last drop of blood defending Mosul, and for them this battle could define their existence. Losing Mosul means a final defeat for Islamic State in Iraq,’ a retired army general living in Mosul told reporters  last month. A senior US Central Command official said Friday the ‘shaping’ for the spring offensive is currently underway.

A total force of up to 25,000 Iraqi troops are expected to participate in the battle. Three brigades of Kurdish Peshmerga forces will take part as well. Moreover, The US wants Iraq to launch its offensive to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State group in April or May, military officials said Thursday.

Mosul is believed to be held by 1,000-2,000 IS fighters and 20,000-25,000 Iraqi troops are needed to carry out the offensive, an official with US Central Command said. ‘The mark on the wall we are still shooting for is the April-May timeframe,’ the official said, adding that because of Ramadan and the increasing heat of summer, ‘it becomes problematic if it goes much later (than May).’

A US ground role in the offensive force, to help direct air strikes, has not been ruled out, the official said. But Iraqi troops will form the bulk of the force, while three Kurdish brigades are planned to also participate. US-led coalition aircraft have recently focused air strikes in the area of Mosul and Kurdish forces have made inroads on the ground nearby.

Kurdish peshmerga forces have also launched successful offensives against IS-held roads near Mosul, which is in the north of the country. The city once held well over a million people but now is likely a fraction of that size. Also Thursday, military chiefs from two dozen countries gathered in the Saudi capital to seek ways of bolstering the Iraqi army against the IS jihadists. Many Iraqi soldiers abandoned their weapons and uniforms when IS advanced last June, seizing large areas of the country. The extremists also hold parts of Syria.