> It's the site where Islamic State first declared a caliphate three years ago. Iraq has spent a bloody eight months battling to retake the city.
In seizing the historic mosque, its troops have scored a symbolic victory. Strategically, it's also edged them deeper into the old city. But Islamic State denied them the chance to retake the building intact. The militants lay in waste to the mosque last week and in other parts of the city, ISS showing a deadly defiance.
Propaganda released by the extremists claims to show their fighters engaging Iraqi troops at a key junction. The Iraqi military estimates over 300 militants are dug in among the debris and destruction. Around 50 thousand civilians are thought to be trapped lacking food, water and medicine. But under air cover provided by a USA coalition, Iraqi forces are getting ever closer to their objective.
Aloft here since 2014, the black flag of Islamic State may soon stop flying over Mosul.