Mosul- ISIS blew up on Wednesday Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque and the historic Al-Hadba minaret, as Iraqi forces tightened the noose on militants in the Old Mosul district, signaling the end of the terrorist group’s three years of control.
Nineveh Operations Commander General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah said in a statement: “Our forces were advancing toward their targets deep in the Old City and when they got to within 50 meters of the Nuri mosque, ISIS committed another historical crime by blowing up the Nuri mosque and al-Hadba minaret.”
ISIS claimed in a statement issued by its mouthpiece Amaq news agency that “a US aircraft has destroyed the mosque,” although the terrorist militants had previously tried to blow up the mosque, but residents were capable to prevent them by forming a human shield around it.
The destruction of the mosque came as Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) units arrived within 50 meters of it.
On Wednesday, Iraqi forces engaged in fierce battles at three different frontlines in the Old city against ISIS militants.
Federal Police Forces Commander Lieutenant General Shaker Jawdat told Asharq Al-Awsat that his forces “recaptured 40 percent of Bab al-Abyad and are 400 meters away from the Farouq street.”
It was from this mosque that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his self-proclaimed “caliphate” three years ago.
The mosque was named after Nuruddin al‑Zanki, who had unified Syria, ruled Mosul for a while, and had ordered to built the mosque in 1172, shortly before his death.
The mosque was destroyed and then rebuilt in 1942. However, what remained from the old mosque is the lenient Al-Hadba minaret, known for its architectural beauty and which constitutes a symbol for the city.
The mosque and minaret are also pictured on Iraq’s 10,000 Dinar bank note.