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Issue #1784      July 5, 2017

Baghdad’s Army captures Grand Mosque

Iraqi troops captured the ruins of Mosul’s Grand Mosque last week, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the so-called Islamic State three years ago.

Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saad said the Counter-terrorism Forces reached the site, at the heart of the Old City district, and took control of the surrounding streets yesterday afternoon.

That followed a multi-pronged dawn assault from the north, south and west of the Old City that effectively split the last square mile of Isis territory in Mosul in two.

National TV broadcast the newsflash: “The state of myth has fallen” as the symbolic and tactical victory was confirmed. North of the mosque, troops also took the site of the Our Lady of the Hour Catholic Church, which was destroyed by ISIS last year, al-Rudaw news reported.

The agency quoted an unnamed commander saying that the entire Old City could be liberated within hours. Baghdadi declared his caliphate at the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri during Friday prayers on July 4 2014, days after his death cult had seized control of Iraq’s second city.

Last month, the remnants of his followers in Mosul blew up the 12th-century mosque and its iconic leaning minaret, possibly to deny government forces the propaganda coup of taking it intact.

ISIS claimed the mosque was destroyed in an air strike by the US-led coalition. Counter-terrorism Forces Major General Sami al-Aridi said specialised engineering teams would probably be needed to clear the ruins as the extremists are suspected to have left them booby-trapped.

Morning Star

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