In Mosul, Iraqi forces push toward mosque blown up by IS

The mosque is hugely symbolic — from its pulpit, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014 declared a self-styled "caliphate," encompassing territories held by IS in Syria and Iraq.

By: AP | Mosul | Published:June 29, 2017 1:54 pm
Syria attack, Mosul attack, militants in Mosul, Iraq Mosul militants, Islamic state terrorist in Mosul, world news, indian express news An Iraqi special forces soldier moves towards the frontline near the al-Nuri mosque during fights against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In their battle for Mosul, Iraqi forces are pushing toward a landmark mosque blown up last week by the Islamic State group. Special forces Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi says his troops won’t enter the destroyed al-Nuri Mosque complex since militants have likely rigged it with explosives but will work to secure the area.

Thursday’s development comes as Iraqi forces are pushing through the last IS-held neighborhood in Mosul, the so-called Old City, to the west of the Tigris River.

The mosque is hugely symbolic — from its pulpit, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014 declared a self-styled “caliphate,” encompassing territories held by IS in Syria and Iraq. Iraqi and coalition officials say IS explosives destroyed the building while the militant group says a U.S. airstrike was to blame.

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