ISIS destroys the Grand Mosque of al-Nouri in Mosul

ISIS militants have blown up the Grand Mosque of al-Nouri in the city of Mosul.

The Iraqi Army has released a statement which states that as Iraqi forces were advancing and besieging the militants inside the Old City of Mosul, ISIS committed a crime against the city and history of Mosul by demolishing the Grand Mosque of al-Nouri.

The mosque, which was built in circa. 1172-73, is the location where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a rare appearance to give his first Friday prayer sermon in June 2014 following the capture of the city by the group.

This demolition is the latest in ISIS’ attempt to use scorched earth tactics to obstruct the Iraqi forces advance in the city of Mosul, which has been occupied by ISIS for the last three years and has served as ISIS’s base of operations within Iraq.

Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, has denounced the destruction of the mosque, saying it was representative to a “declaration of defeat” by ISIS fighters.

Al Ghad reports that ISIS militants are fleeing from house to house along the streets and alleyways of the Old City of Mosul.

Many civilians are fleeing areas which are under ISIS control, often taking unsafe and unknown paths to prevent being seen by ISIS militants.

Reports indicate that many civilians are being used as human shields as they attempt to slow the advance of the Iraqi Security Forces deeper into the Old City of Mosul.