Members of Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service sift through the ruins of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque at the Old City in Mosul, Iraq June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Islamic State fighters are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.
The seizure of the nearly 850-year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque — from where Islamic State proclaimed the caliphate nearly three years ago to the day — is a huge symbolic victory.
“The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement, referring to the hardline Sunni Mulsim group by an Arabic acronym.
The fall of Mosul would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the IS caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, ruling over hundreds of thousands of people.
Its stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, is also close to falling.
A U.S.-backed Kurdish-led coalition …
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