URGENT: Iraqi forces recapture iconic Nuri Mosque in Old Mosul
The Iraqi army has recaptured the venue of the iconic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, with the country’s state TV implying the liberation of the city, which has been under Daesh control since 2014.
“Their fictitious state has fallen,” an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV on Thursday.
Earlier, the Iraqi military announced the news as it continues to gain more advances in Mosul’s Old City.
Shortly after the announcement, the Iraqi state television reported the fall of the “mythical state,” in reference to Daesh’s so-called caliphate.
The TV said the recapture of the mosque means Mosul, as the terror group’s command center, has been liberated, while Iraqi forces are in the middle of a mop-up operation to cleanse the city of remaining Daesh elements.
Daesh extremists late on June 21 blew up the Grand al-Nuri Mosque and its Hadba (Hunchback) minaret.
Iraqi authorities and officials from the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh terrorists said the destruction of the site, sometimes referred to as Iraq’s Tower of Pisa, is a sign of the extremists’ imminent loss of Mosul.
The Iraqi army forces have besieged the last Daesh positions in the southern areas of Old Mosul and they expect to purge the area of the terrorists by the next few days.
The combined pictures created by AFP on June 22, 2017 shows Nuri Mosque’s leaning Al-Hadba minaret before and after it was destroyed by Daesh Takfiri terrorists on June 21, 2017.
Iraqi government forces are nearing the end of their eight-month campaign to capture the de-facto capital of Daesh in Iraq.
The media bureau of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced in a statement on Wednesday that army troopers had established full control over Hadarat al-Saada and al-Ahmadiyya neighborhoods northwest of Grand al-Nuri Mosque, where purported Daesh ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the formation of the group’s so-called caliphate back in 2014.
Earlier on Wednesday, Federal Police Forces Commander Lieutenant General Shaker Jawdat said security forces were moving through al-Farouq district and advancing towards Bab al-Toub, Serjkhana, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Lakash areas in the heart of Mosul’s Old City.
He revealed that government troops were in control of more than 70 percent of Daesh’s last bastion in Mosul.
Jawdat noted that army troops were engaged in fierce battles with an estimated 300 Daesh militants in the Old City.
Iraqi forces seize more ground
Reports coming out of Mosul say Daesh terrorists have been using Mosul residents as human shields. The militants force women and children to cover them in the streets as they know that Iraqi security forces will not target civilians
Moreover, when the terrorists lose a region, they use human shields to secure their way out of the area.
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.
An estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from Mosul ever since the battle to retake the city began nine months ago. A total of 195,000 civilians have also returned, mainly to the liberated areas of eastern Mosul.