ICONIC STRUCTURE This is where AlBaghdadi declared himself the ‘caliph’
IBRIL: The Islamic State group blew up a historic landmark in Mosul — the city’s famed 12th century al-Nuri mosque with its iconic leaning minaret known as al-Hadba, from where the IS leader proclaimed the militant group’s self-styled caliphate nearly three years ago.
Iraq’s defence ministry said the militants detonated explosives inside the structures on Wednesday night. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tweeted early on Thursday that the destruction was an admission by the militants that they are losing the fight for Iraq’s second-largest city.
The al-Nuri mosque, which is 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 Mosul was overrun by the militants. The minaret that leaned like the Tower of Pisa had stood for more than 840 years.
The IS blew up the mosque during the celebrations of Laylat al Qadr, the holiest night of the year for Muslims, which commemorates the night the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramzan.
An IS statement posted online shortly after the defence ministry reported the mosque’s destruction blamed an airstrike by the US for its loss.
The US-led coalition rejected the IS claim.
RUSSIA: BAGHDADI’S DEATH HIGHLY LIKELY
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Oleg Syromolotov on Thursday said that “according to the defence ministry’s information, there is a high probability that al-Baghdadi was killed when the Russian air force hit militants’ headquarters on the southern outskirts of Raqqa in late May.”