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Tuesday January 16, 2018 07:57 PM

Iraq declares end of IS after capturing historic Mosul mosque

  • Published at 05:32 PM June 29, 2017
  • Last updated at 05:37 PM June 29, 2017
Iraq declares end of IS after capturing historic Mosul mosque
A black jihadist flag hangs from Mosul's Al-Habda minaret at the Grand Mosque, where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate back in 2014, as Iraqi forces battle to drive out Islamic state militants from the western part of Mosul, Iraq, March 16, 2017. REUTERS

Iraqi authorities expect the battle to end in the coming days as Islamic State has been bottled up in a handful of neighbourhoods of the Old City.

Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the mosque in Mosul from where Islamic State proclaimed its self-styled caliphate three years ago, the Iraqi military said.

Seizing the 850 year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque hands a symbolic victory to the Iraqi forces who have been battling for more than eight month to recapture Mosul, the northern city that served as Islamic State’s de facto capital in Iraq.

Smoke billows from the Islamic State militants positions after an artillery attack by Iraqi forces. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Smoke billows from the Islamic State militants positions after an artillery attack by Iraqi forces Photo: REUTERS

“Their fictitious state has fallen,” an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.

The insurgents blew up the medieval mosque and its famed leaning minaret a week ago as US-backed Iraqi forces started a push in its direction. Their black flag had been flying from al-Hadba (The Hunchback) minaret, since June 2014.

A destroyed al-Hadba minaret at Grand al-Nuri Mosque (L) is seen from an Iraqi held position at the Old City in Mosul, Iraq June 27, 2017 Photo: REUTERS

A destroyed al-Hadba minaret at Grand al-Nuri Mosque (L) is seen from an Iraqi held position at the Old City in Mosul, Iraq June 27, 2017 Photo: REUTERS

Iraqi authorities expect the battle to end in the coming days as IS has been bottled up in a handful of neighbourhoods of the Old City.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion,” his office said on Wednesday.

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