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Iraq to rebuild historic mosque destroyed by IS

--Courtesy "Los Angeles Times" [Aerial view]

Baghdad: Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the historic al-Nuri mosque and its leaning minaret in Mosul will be rebuilt after liberating the city from the Islamic State (IS) militants “in a few days”.

“We will move to reconstruct the archaeological sites that were destroyed by the terrorist Daesh (IS militant group) in al-Hadbaa (minaret in al-Nuri mosque), Nimrud and Hattra (archaeological sites),” Abadi said at a press conference on Thursday after his weekly cabinet meeting, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The bombing of al-Nuri mosque and the Hadbaa minaret represents declaration of the end of Daesh organisation, and we will rebuild them because it is human heritage not only for Iraqis,” Abadi said.

Abadi also said “there are only a few areas left from Mosul, and its complete liberation is a matter of a few days.”

Abadi’s comments came a day after IS group bombed al-Nuri mosque in the centre of the old city in the western side of Mosul, as Iraqi forces were pushing towards al-Nuri mosque and the surrounding areas, amid fierce house-to-house battles in some alleys near the mosque.

The mosque, built in 1172 A.D. with its famous leaning minaret, gave the city its nickname “al-Hadbaa” or “the hunchback.” It has a symbolic value, as it was the place where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the cross-border “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in his sole public appearance in July 2014.

A few hours after the bombing of the mosque, Abadi said “blowing up the al-Nuri mosque and the al-Hadba minaret is an official declaration of defeat by the Islamic State”.

Abadi also revealed in Thursday’s press conference that the loss caused by the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure by IS group in Iraqi cities reached to over $100 billion.