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Jun 29, 5:39 AM EDT

In Mosul, Iraqi forces take landmark mosque blown up by IS

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AP Photo/Felipe Dana

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MOSUL, Iraq (AP) -- An Iraqi commander says his forces have taken Mosul's landmark al-Nuri Mosque compound that was destroyed by the Islamic State group last week.

Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi says special forces entered the compound and took control of the surrounding streets on Thursday afternoon, following a dawn push into the area.

Earlier, special forces Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi warned the site will need to be cleared by engineering teams as IS fighters likely rigged it with explosives.

Iraqi forces are pushing through the last IS-held neighborhood in Mosul, the so-called Old City, to the west of the Tigris River.

The mosque is symbolic - from its pulpit, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014 declared a self-styled "caliphate" on IS-held territories in Syria and Iraq.

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