An Iraqi commander on Thursday said his forces have taken Mosul’s landmark al-Nuri Mosque compound that was destroyed by the Islamic State group last week. The mosque is symbolic — from its pulpit, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014 declared a self-styled “caliphate” on IS-held territories in Syria and Iraq.
Lt. General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said special forces entered the compound and took control of the surrounding streets on Thursday afternoon, following a dawn push into the area.
Earlier, special forces Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi warned the site will need to be cleared by engineering teams as IS fighters likely rigged it with explosives.
Iraqi forces are pushing through the last IS-held neighborhood in Mosul, the so-called Old City, to the west of the Tigris River.