It was inevitable. That it has occurred so quickly has shocked us. And, in our hearts, we hoped this wouldn’t happen. But ISIL realised our worst fears:
The Baghdad government has announced that ISIL destroyed al-Nouri mosque and the historical al-Habda Minaret in west Mosul late Wednesday.
Officials stated in a press release: “As Counter Terrorism Forces advanced, and got within 50 meters of al-Nouri mosque, ISIL militants detonated explosives within the mosque and the nearby al-Habda minaret.”
The statement said that by destroying the historical site “ISIL have committed yet another crime against Iraq,” stressing that “Iraqi forces are in a constant and steady state of advance.”
Operations commander Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yar Allah said: “When the the Iraqi forces got to within 50 meters of al-Nouri mosque, ISIL blew up the mosque and the historic minaret,” adding, “Our forces continue to advance, in a steady and heroic manner.”
Hours before the bombing, combined Iraqi forces announced that they had begun moves towards the mosque in west Mosul, as part of the effort to retake ISIL’s last stronghold. This photo was taken by Yalla’s reporter five hours before the explosion.
The al-Nouri mosque, located in the Old City, in the heart of west Mosul, was where ISIL’s self-identified ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared command in July 2014.