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Iraqi forces take Mosul’s al-Nuri mosque blown up by Islamic State

Aerial view of the destroyed al-Nuri mosque during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul on June 28, 2017.

Aerial view of the destroyed al-Nuri mosque during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul on June 28, 2017.   | Photo Credit: AP

The mosque is symbolic as it was from its pulpit, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a self-styled “caliphate” in July 2014.

Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the mosque in Mosul from where Islamic State proclaimed its self-styled caliphate three years ago, the Iraqi military said.

Seizing the 850 year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque hands a symbolic victory to the Iraqi forces who have been battling for more than eight months to recapture Mosul, the northern city that served as Islamic State's de facto capital in Iraq.

 

“Their fictitious state has fallen,” an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.

Insurgents blew up the medieval mosque and its famed leaning minaret a week ago as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces started a push in its direction. Their black flag was flying from al-Hadba (The Hunchback) minaret, since June 2014.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion,” his office said on Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said special forces entered the compound and took control of the surrounding streets on June 29 afternoon, following a dawn push into the area.

Earlier, special forces Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi warned the site would need to be cleared by engineering teams as Islamic State fighters likely rigged it with explosives.

 

Iraqi authorities expect the battle to end in the coming days as the Islamic State has been bottled up in a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.

The mosque is symbolic as it was from its pulpit, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in July 2014 a self-styled “caliphate” on IS-held territories in Syria and Iraq.

 

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 1:55:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/iraqi-forces-take-landmark-mosul-mosque-blown-up-by-islamic-state/article19175845.ece

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