Iraq Announces End of ISIS Caliphate Captures of Historic Mosque in

By Chaimaa ZahaarRabat – The Iraqi army said on Thursday that it had seized the site of the great Al Nouri mosque in the old city of Mosul, where the leader of the Islamic terrorist group (ISIS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had proclaimed a caliphate in 2014.“Their mythical state has fallen,” Iraqi national television spokesman of the Iraqi army, General Yahia Rassoul, said of the caliphate. The medieval Al Nouri mosque, with its inclined minaret, was destroyed by the Islamic state on 22 June. The black flag of the jihadists had floated on top of Al Hadba, the lean minaret, since June 2014. The IA now controls only a portion of the old city of Mosul, which was its “capital” in Iraq, and the capture of the Al Nouri Mosque is a symbolic victory for the Iraqi army. The mosque takes its name from Nuruddin al Zanki, a nobleman who had fought the Crusaders, and was erected in 1172-1173.The Iraqi authorities expect that the fighting in Mosul will end in the days to come, as the Islamic state’s area is shrinking. The army’s progression is no less difficult because the last jihadists, who last week were at most 350 according to Baghdad, mingled with the civilian population and carried out suicide operations to delay their fall.The anti-terrorist unit seized the site of the mosque in a “lightning operation,” said a commander of the elite units on national television. Civilians living nearby were evacuated in recent days via corridors. read more