In Iraq, ISIS seals off area around symbolic mosque in Mosul 

Islamic State group militants have blocked the area around a highly symbolic mosque in Mosul’s Old City where the group’s leader made his first and only public appearance in 2014, a resident said Thursday, Fox News reported.

The move came as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are pushing to recapture the city’s remaining pockets.

The militants have ordered families living near al-Nuri mosque — also known as the Great Mosque — to leave their houses and sealed all the roads leading to it, said the resident who lives in the IS-held sections of Mosul.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a Friday sermon in al-Nuri mosque in 2014 after IS seized almost a third of Iraq and declared an Islamic “caliphate” on territory it controlled in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The iconic 840-year-old “Crooked Minaret,” which leans somewhat like Italy’s Tower of Pisa, survived destruction by IS militants as residents formed a human chain to protect it when the militants came to blow it up. The extremists demolished dozens of historic and archaeological sites in and around Mosul, saying they promote idolatry.

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About the Author: Stefan Kachakov

Stefan Kachakov is a news media professional with a strong experience in online journalism, content management, and social media. Stefan’s strength includes the sound knowledge of online media, detecting potential trend worthy subjects, discovering news and proficiency in packaging content for web and mobile. Stefan specializes in the ever changing political climate of the Middle East.

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