Iraqi Army Commander: Mosul’s minaret booby-trapped before the explosion
Abdul-Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, said in a press statement that the medieval Grand Nuri al-Kabir Mosque and its famous Hadbaa (leaning) Minaret had already been prepared for detonation once the group reached “total bankruptcy” as he put it, Iraqi News reported.
Assadi’s remarks come as ISIL and the US-led coalition traded blame Wednesday for the explosion that brought down the historic structure which stands at the mosque where ISIL first declared the establishment of its rule in Iraq in 2014.
Assadi said it had been ISIL’s habit to detonate historic sites in Mosul, reminding that the militants had previously blown up the Nabi Yunis shrine in Mosul.
The minaret’s collapse came as CTS forces were 50 meters away from the mosque, partaking in an invasion by the Iraqi joint forces of the Old City, the ancient neighborhood where a few hundreds of ISIL members are entrenched as a last refuge in Mosul.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement by his office that ISIL militants, by resorting to blowing up the historic site, were officially declaring their defeat.