MOSUL — After the Iraqi security forces recaptured the symbolic building of Grand Mosque – where the Islamic State (IS) first declared the caliphate, the Iraqi official TV channel, al-Iraqiyah, announced the end of the organization in the city.
The Iraqi second largest city fell to the IS militants due to the collapse of the Iraqi army in the city during the former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki’s reign. Observers and many Iraqi officials believe that Maliki’s sectarian-based policy led to the collapse of the northern Iraqi provinces in the wake of IS organisation’s attack.
After nearly eight months into the battle to retake the city, the Iraqi forces are close to declare the liberation of the entire city from IS. The Iraqi forces announced today the seizure of the Grand Nuri Mosque in the centre of the Old City district, the last IS-held area in Mosul.
Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi proclaimed his self-styled caliphate in June 2014 in the mosque.
The IS militants last week bombed the Hadba ancient minaret adjoining the Grand Mosque, causing extensive damage to the mosque.
The operation to liberate Mosul was launched by the Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, backed by US-led coalition air support, on October 17, 2016. The eastern half of the city was declared free in January 2017, and the forces moved onto liberating the western part of the city in February 19, 2017.