Mosul: Islamic State militants on Wednesday blew up the Grand al-Nuri Mosque of Mosul and its famous leaning minaret, Iraq’s military said in a statement. Whereas, Islamic State has claimed US forces have bombed a famous mosque in Mosul as a row broke out about who was responsible.
“We did not strike in that area,” coalition spokesman U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian told Reuters by telephone.
“The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of ISIS,” U.S. Army Major General Joseph Martin, commander of the coalition’s ground component, said in a statement.
The historic landmark was flattened yesterday, which prompted Iraqi officials to blame the terror group. But leaders issued a statement through its Amaq news agency saying it was US aircraft which destroyed the mosque.
“Blowing up the al-Hadba Minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,” Iraqi Prime Minister said in a statement on his website.
“American warplanes destroyed Al-Nouri Mosque and the great minaret inside Mosul city!” Iraqi military had earlier claimed IS was responsible and US coalition sources denied any wrongdoing.
The Grand al-Nuri Mosque of Mosul was where IS leader Abubakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” in 2014.
IS has bombed many historic sites during its reign of terror including the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra as it seeks to destroy the cultural heritage to cleanse the land.
This destruction took place during the period of Laylat al-Qadr which falls under last 10 days of Ramadan. Islamic State fighters have destroyed many Muslim religious sites, churches and shrines, as well as ancient Assyrian and Roman-era sites in Iraq and in Syria. The group posted videos online in 2015 showing the destruction of artefacts in the Mosul museum, some of which dated from the 7th century BC. It is also suspected of selling artefacts.