ISIS militants on Wednesday blew up the Grand al-Nuri Mosque of Mosul and its famous leaning minaret, Iraq's military said in a statement, as Iraqi forces seeking to expel the group from the city closed in on the site. This was reported by Reuters.
It was from this medieval mosque three years ago that the militants' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a self-styled "caliphate" spanning parts of Syria and Iraq.
''Blowing up the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,'' Iraqi Prime Minister said in a brief comment on his website.
Islamic State's Amaq news agency accused American aircraft of destroying the mosque, a claim immediately denied by the US-led coalition fighting the militant group.
"We did not strike in that area," coalition spokesman US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian said.
"The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of ISIS," US Army Major General Joseph Martin, commander of the coalition's ground component, said.
The media office for Iraq's military distributed a picture taken from the air that appeared to show the mosque and minaret largely flattened and reduced to rubble among the small houses of the Old City, the historic district where the militants are under siege.
Earlier it was reported that ISIS called its followers to attack in West, Russia, Middle East, Asia during Ramadan. Journalists believe that the author of the message is the militant group's official spokesman, Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer.