Sunday, 02 July 2017 04:18 PM
Iraqi forces on Sunday celebrated the liberation of Al-Nuri mosque in the old city of Mosul, according to pictures published by Reuters news agency.
The pictures show dozens of Iraqi soldiers on their buses, pointing to the signs of victory on the organization of the preacher of terrorism beside the mosque of light.
The mosque and its 850-year-old minaret were mined and blown up by explosives last week as Iraqi forces advanced until they were steps away from the mosque.
A Reuters visit to the site on Friday, one day after the Iraqi army restored the place, confirmed the extent of the damage, with the 45-meter-high humpback lighthouse becoming a trunk-cut tree, with only its green dome left.
The fighting raged a few blocks away and Dui Hazim was shot in front of the main gate, which was not badly damaged and a mortar round landed on a nearby building.
Under the dome of the mosque, the leader of the organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, made a speech in July 2014 in which he declared himself an emir in the territory that the organization had just captured in Iraq and neighboring Syria. Within months, an organization has launched or ordered attacks in faraway places such as Paris, London and California. A US-led international military alliance soon formed to counter the organization.
Three years later, the pulpit, which Baghdadi threw above him, turned into rubble. Stones and concrete covered the floor of the mosque and was part of a secondary minaret that was the only one to be distinguished in the rubble. There was a risk of unexploded ordnance or mines without losing the entire interior of the site.
The appearance of al-Baghdadi in the Al-Nuri Mosque was the first time he presented himself to the world. The video footage that was broadcast at the time was the only picture recording of a leader to this day.
US and Iraqi military sources said he had long since left the fighting in Mosul and in Raqqa, Syria, for local commanders and was believed to be hiding in the border area between the two countries. Reports of his death have often been reported, including reports received last month from Russia and Iran.
After his engagement in 2014, al-Baghdadi descended from the pulpit to accommodate his supporters in prayer from a mihrab, whose features are now difficult to identify in the rubble.