The Islamic State destroyed the centuries-old al-Nuri mosque in Mosul on Wednesday night, according to the Iraqi and U.S. militaries. Col. Ryan Dillon, an American military spokesman in Baghdad, said drone surveillance confirmed the historic mosque had been destroyed, but added, "We don't know how." Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin said ISIS blew up the mosque as "our Iraqi Security Force partners closed in." The mosque was where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate after his forces took control of Mosul during an offensive in northern Iraq and Syria. ISIS said it was a U.S. airstrike that brought down the mosque and its iconic leaning minaret, known as al-Hadba. The mosque was built by Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zangi, a 12th century ruler who unified Arabs against European crusaders.

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