Islamic State destroys iconic al-Nuri mosque in Mosul

The mosque -- also known as Mosul's Great Mosque -- is where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a so-called Islamic caliphate in 2014 .

By: AP | Irbil (iraq) | Updated: June 22, 2017 8:36 pm
Islamic State, Mosul, al-Nuri mosque, Mosul Great Mosque Al-Hadba minaret at the Grand Mosque is seen through a building window in the old city of Mosul, Iraq June 1, 2017. Picture taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

The Islamic State group destroyed Mosul’s al-Nuri mosque and its iconic leaning minaret known as al-Hadba late Wednesday night when fighters detonated explosives inside the structures, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Defense.

The mosque — also known as Mosul’s Great Mosque — is where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a so-called Islamic caliphate in 2014 shortly after the city was overrun by the militants and was seen as a key symbolic prize in the fight for Iraq’s second largest city. The minaret that leaned like Italy’s Tower of Pisa stood for more than 840 years.

In a statement posted online Wednesday night after the Ministry of Defense statement, IS claimed an airstrike carried out by the United States destroyed the mosque and minaret.

IS fighters initially attempted to destroy the minaret in July 2014. The militants said the structure contradicted their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, but Mosul residents converged on the area and formed a human chain to protect it. IS demolished dozens of historic and archaeological sites in and around Mosul, saying they promoted idolatry.

The mosque sat on the southern edge of the Old City, the last IS stronghold inside Mosul. Iraqi forces launched a push into the Old City earlier this week, but have made slow progress as the last IS fighters there are holed up with an estimated 100,000 civilians according to the United Nations.

Earlier this month Mosul residents reported IS fighters began sealing off the area around the mosque. Residents said IS fighters ordered families living in the area to evacuate in preparation for a final stand.

The fight to retake Mosul was launched more than eight months ago and has displaced more than 850,000 people. While Iraqi forces have experienced periods of swift gains, combat inside the city has been grueling and deadly for both Iraqi forces and civilians.

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  1. A
    Ashutosh V Divecha
    Jun 22, 2017 at 9:50 pm
    Is not the black stone in Mecca also a case of Idolatory ?
    1. D
      deendayal lulla
      Jun 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm
      it is very unfortunate.
      1. I
        Jun 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm
      2. M
        Jun 22, 2017 at 3:22 pm
        First, I thought it may be a Shia Mosque, but then I remembered that Mosul was a Sunny stronghold. So, I am not entirely sure why this great Masjid had to be destroyed. ISIS is mad, in any case.... I know that Iraq's Sunnis had destroyed another great Masjid at Karbala, very Holy to Shias, sever times since the Gulf War. Several times, because it was quickly rebuilt by the Iraqi government, but car bombed again by the Sunnis.
        1. R
          raandwa mohammad
          Jun 22, 2017 at 11:29 am
          Hundreds of years ago, Muslim invaders destroyed many temples in India and built mosque on the ruins of temples . Now Muslim terrorists are destroying mosques . Mean while Hindus are struggling to build a temple destroyed by an Islamic invader......As the religion, so are its followers !!
          1. S
            Sukhdev Singh Jaswal
            Jun 22, 2017 at 8:24 am
            Who destroys their own place of worship?
            1. I
              Jun 22, 2017 at 7:02 am
              When this is happening to Mecca and medina? can't wait for thta day. Cheers to that
              1. L
                l s
                Jun 22, 2017 at 6:54 am
                Hope they destroy the thousands of mosques around the world, because these places have become a haven for terrorists. Holy places of this community are being used for anti-national and terrorist activities.
                1. I
                  Jun 22, 2017 at 7:03 am
                  Very well said brother
                2. R
                  Raj V
                  Jun 22, 2017 at 6:28 am
                  This is typical of what islamic state can do to general public leaving under its control.
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