The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has destroyed Mosul's al-Hadba minaret and the 845-year-old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, or Noor mosque, where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have declared the "caliphate" in 2014, the UPI website reports today (June 22, 2017).
U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon. the spokesman for the coalition battling the IS group, said, "This act of ISIS desperation clearly shows how close the Iraqi security forces are to victory in Mosul."
A coalition official said the Islamic State destroyed the mosque and the minaret because Iraqi forces were closing in on the structure.
"This is a crime against the people of Mosul and all of Iraq, and is an example of why this brutal organization [ISIS] must be annihilated," U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin said.