Press TV- Daesh has blown up Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque, where the terrorist group’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi announced the formation of a so-called caliphate after capturing the northern city in 2014.
“Our forces were advancing toward their targets deep in the Old City and when they got to within 50 meters (yards) of the Nuri mosque, Daesh committed another historical crime by blowing up the Nuri mosque and the Hadba” minaret, said Nineveh Liberation Operation Commander Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah in a statement released on Wednesday night.
The blasts occurred as Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service units had reached within 50 meters of the terrorists.
The terrorists claim that the mosque was destroyed by a US airstrike, but the so-called US-led coalition rejected the claim.
“We did not strike in that area,” said US–led coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorrian.
“The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of Daesh,” he added.
‘Mosque destruction Daesh’s admission to defeat’
After the army announced that Daesh had destroyed the mosque, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, “It’s an official declaration of defeat.”
Earlier in the day, Iraqi military officials announced troops has had encircled the mosque — Daesh’s stronghold in the Old City of Mosul.
Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by their Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweeping gains against Daesh since launching the Mosul operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
Foundation of the so-called caliphate by the militant invaders in June 2014 was heavily criticized and ridiculed by Islamic scholars inside and outside the Middle East.