The Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq, is destroyed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

21/06/2017View on timeline

The Great Mosque of al-Nuri was a mosque in Mosul, Iraq. It was famous for its leaning minaret, which gave the city its nickname "the hunchback" . Tradition holds that the mosque was first built in the late 12th century, although it underwent many renovations over the years. The mosque withstood various hostile invading forces over its 850-year history until it was destroyed with its distinctive minaret in the Battle of Mosul in 2017.

Iraqi troops attributed the destruction of the Great Mosque to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a vandalistic move to destroy it rather than let it go from their hold. The mosque had held symbolic importance to ISIL and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as it was used in 2014 by the militants to self-declare their "caliphate". ISIL's black flag had been flying on the 45-metre minaret after their militants surged across Iraq and Syria seizing territory, and they had promised to never let their flag be lowered from it. Contrary to official accounts and local eyewitnesses, ISIL alleged that U.S. forces destroyed it. ISIL's claim was not substantiated. The BBC reported that "IS accused the United States-led coalition aircraft of bombing the site, but experts said a video circulated online appeared to show charges inside the structures exploding".

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that the destruction of the mosque by ISIL was a "declaration of defeat", and that "[b]lowing up the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgment of defeat [by ISIS]".

Al Nouri mosque in 1932

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Published in 28/05/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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