USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS -

The Is­lamic State lev­eled the famed al-Nuri mosque and its lean­ing minaret in Mo­sul, just as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces were clos­ing in on the his­toric site Wed­nes­day, the U.S. mil­i­tary said.

Iraqi forces, backed by coali­tion airstrikes and other sup­port, are in the fi­nal stages of an of­fen­sive to clear the Is­lamic State, also known as ISIS, from the city af­ter about eight months of in­ten­sive com­bat.

“As our Iraqi Se­cu­rity Force part­ners closed in on the al-Nuri mosque, ISIS de­stroyed one of Mo­sul and Iraq’s great trea­sures,” Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, said in a state­ment.

ISIS claimed the mosque was de­stroyed by a coali­tion airstrike, but the U.S. mil­i­tary dis­missed that, say­ing it did not con­duct strikes in that area at that time.

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