The Iraqi military announced on Thursday that special forces had recaptured the iconic Mosul mosque where ISIL Takfiri group’s chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only known public appearance.
“Counter-Terrorism Service forces control the Nuri mosque and Al-Hadba (minaret),” the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.
The mosque and its famed Al-Hadba (hunchback) leaning minaret were Mosul landmarks and also held major significance in the history of ISIL rule in Iraq.
Baghdadi appeared during Friday prayers at Nouri mosque in 2014, soon after ISIL seized Iraq’s second city, declaring the so-called “caliphate” there.
The Takfiris blew up the mosque and minaret on June 21 as they put up increasingly desperate resistance to the advance of Iraqi forces.
Iraqi officials said the destruction of the site was a sign of the Takfiri group’s imminent loss of Mosul, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi calling it an “official declaration of defeat”.