The Islamic State has blown up the historic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, Iraq.
The Islamic Caliphate has is full responsibility for the destruction of the world renowned monument according to both Iraqi and American officials.
The Iraqi Military has released a statement saying, “The historical mosque in the Old City was particularly famous for its leaning minaret. It has now been destroyed.”
Such a provocative move is sure to create chaos in an already deadly battleground region where destruction occurs daily via insurgents and warlords competing for territorial grounds against the new Iraqi government.
On Iraqi television, the Military was quoted as reporting, “The Daesh [Arabic term for IS] terror gangs committed another historical crime by blowing up the al-Nuri mosque and its historical al-Hadba Minaret.”
United States Central Command released their own statement on the attack stating, “This was a crime against the people of Mosul and Iraq." Centcom went on to say that American forces have vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice for this destruction of a globally recognized religious monument.
Commanding General of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Operation Inherent Resolve, Major General Joseph Martin publicly said, “As our Iraqi Security Force partners closed in on the al-Nuri mosque, ISIS destroyed one of Mosul and Iraq's great treasures. This is a crime against the people of Mosul and all of Iraq, and is an example of why this brutal organization must be annihilated."
The Islamic State, however, has pushed out their own propaganda saying that the United States destroyed the historic site via an airstrike. Pushing these lies will likely inspire retaliatory attacks against Coalition forces in the region.
The explosion occurred just as Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Service made their way to within 50 meters (164 ft) of the mosque, according to the statement. Officials had been hoping to recapture the historic building before the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The religious monument was built in the 12th century. It was also the same location where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had declared the Islamic Caliphate soon after it occupied the Iraqi city back in 2014 and the black flag of IS had been flying from the minaret ever since that date.
The Islamic State occupation of Mosul comes amidst reports of widespread civil resistance against the terrorist group, with residents reportedly having saved the mosque by forming a human chain around it before the explosion.