ISIS Blows Up Iraq Mosque

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 05:13 GMT, Jun 22, 2017 |

For more than 800 years, the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri has punctuated the skyline of Mosul, calling worshipers to prayer. Its notable lean earned it the nickname al-Hadba, or “the hunchback,” and a special place in the hearts of residents.

But the Mosul icon was reduced to rubble Wednesday, the latest casualty in the war to wrest the city from Islamic State militants.

The militants blew up the mosque and its minaret as Iraqi forces came within about 50 yards of the building, according to Iraq’s joint operations command, which published a video that appeared to back up its claim, showing a blast emanating from the complex.

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency contended that the mosque was destroyed in a U.S. airstrike, which the U.S.-led coalition denied.

“We can confirm that the al-Nuri mosque was destroyed,” said Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition. “It was not as a result of coalition strikes. We did not strike in that area this evening.”