The IS militants destroyed the ancient Mosque of al-Nuri, said Iraqi forces. This indicated the beginning of the defeat of the Islamic State militants. In a quick rejoinder, IS said that US aircraft had damaged the complex. But U.S denied the claim.

The Great al-Nuri Mosque has been blown-up

The landmark Great al-Nuri Mosque has been blown-up. IS militants have blamed the US-led coalition for the destruction. It is at al-Nuri Mosque, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi publicly proclaimed the creation of a caliphate in 2014.

A US commander in Iraq said that: “IS has destroyed Mosul’s great resources.” The Great Mosque of al-Nuri was built more than 800 years ago.

The Mosque was named after Muslim leader, Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zangi. Nur al-Din was well-known for instigating jihad against Christian advocates. The destruction of the Mosque has been widely condemned. According to BBC, aerial footage showed how the complex was greatly destroyed.

Destruction of the Mosque marks the beginning of the fall of IS in the Old City

Major General Martin said that there was “a crime against Mosul’s people and Iraq in general, and is an instance of why this group must be thrashed.” According to BBC reports, the Iraqi commander tasked to reclaim Mosul said that troops were 50m away from the Mosque when IS “committed another historical offense.”

The US-led coalition warplanes are involved in the fight to retake the Old City from IS militants.

The battle to repossess Mosul was launched on 17th October last year. Eastern Mosul was fully liberated in January, but it has been more difficult to free the Western side owing to its narrow zigzagging streets.

On Sunday Commanders began what was pronounced as the “last chapter” of the battle. The Army, Iraq’s counter-terrorism police, and the federal police started attacking the town from all directions.

The army believed that there were about 300 IS militants left, out of the initial number of about 6000.

The UN has cautioned that more than 100,000 people in Mosul are used as human shields by the IS militants. However, Iraq forces said that they were freeing civilians who were previously under hostage in the Old City.

In a televised statement, a military official said that: “We have wrecked the siege of IS and permitted the civilians to vacate. This is a confirmation that IS has lost control.” However, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the destruction, saying that: “It was a pronouncement of defeat by IS.”