This is interesting.
ISIS forces are on the brink of being evicted from the Iraqi city of Mosul:
Islamic State fighters defended their remaining stronghold in the Old City of Mosul on Monday, moving stealthily along narrow back alleys as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces slowly advanced.
The intensity of fighting was lower than on Sunday, when Iraqi forces announced the start of the assault on the Old City, a Reuters visuals team reported from near the frontlines.
The historic district, and a tiny area to its north, are the only parts of the city still under the militants’ control. Mosul used to be the Iraqi capital of the group, also known as ISIS.
A short time ago ISIS fighters dynamited (yes, I know they didn’t actually use dynamite) the Great Mosque of al-Nuri.
— Iraqi Day ?? (@iraqi_day) June 21, 2017
That rather phallic-looking structure is the famed leaning minaret, known as al-Hadba’ (“the hunchback”).
The al-Nuri mosque is where the nominal head of ISIS, Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the formation of a new Caliphate in 2014.
This is not the first time elements of ISIS have attempted to destroy the mosque, but one wonders is this is just a random act of vandalism on the way out, or, given the apocalyptic nature of ISIS, does this herald the beginning of a scorched earth policy as they retreat from population centers they control.