Terrorist group had announced its ‘caliphate’ at the historic mosque in 2014
Daesh has blown up the iconic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, the Iraqi army said Wednesday.
The terror group destroyed the building “and its minarets while our forces were 50 meters [164 feet] away”, Lt. Gen. Abdulemir Yarullah of Operations Command in Mosul said in a statement.
Responding to the destruction, coalition commander Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin said Daesh "destroyed one of Mosul and Iraq's great treasures.
"This is a crime against the people of Mosul and all of Iraq, and is an example of why this brutal organization must be annihilated," he said.
"The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of ISIS, and we continue to support our Iraqi partners as they bring these terrorists to justice," he added, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.
Daesh announced its so-called caliphate at the historic mosque in 2014.
Iraqi forces began fresh operations Sunday, aimed at retaking Mosul's Old City, a densely-populated maze of narrow alleys where fighting is usually conducted house to house.
Backed by air cover provided by a U.S.-led coalition, the Iraqi military is currently engaged in a months-long campaign to recapture Mosul, Daesh’s last stronghold in northern Iraq.