Iraqi forces have seized more ground from ISIL in Mosul.
The latest advances come after the US-backed coalition began its final push towards the 12th century mosque in the city where the so Islamic State declared its self-styled caliphate almost three years ago to the day.
Months of fighting have left the sacred site in ruins. While the recent destruction by ISIL of the famous leaning minaret drew international condemnation, it has also been taken as a marker that fighting in Iraq’s second city is in the endgame.
The Iraqi army says the jihadist group’s stronghold in the old city, where the medieval Grand al-Nuri Mosque is located, is now encircled.
Officials say some 200 ISIL diehards continue to make a stand.