TRT World has spoken exclusively to the former imam of Mosul's Grand Al Nuri Mosque. Hamoud Omar Halil had been reported killed in 2014, but up until March this year, says he performed sermons in the mosque under Daesh rule.

A destroyed mosque is seen among other houses near the Grand al Nuri mosque at the frontline in the Old City of West Mosul, Iraq June 27, 2017.
A destroyed mosque is seen among other houses near the Grand al Nuri mosque at the frontline in the Old City of West Mosul, Iraq June 27, 2017.

Iraqi forces have been engaging in a final battle to seize Mosul from Daesh.

Up to 350 militants are estimated by the Iraqi military to be dug in in the Old City among civilians in wrecked houses and crumbling infrastructure. They are trying to slow the advance of Iraqi forces by laying booby traps and using suicide bombers and snipers.

Last week, the terror group blew up the Grand Al Nuri Mosque and its famous leaning minaret.

It was from that mosque that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared the so-called caliphate in 2014.

Back then it was reported that the mosque's Imam was executed. But we can reveal he's alive and has been performing sermons under Daesh's rule.

TRT World's Soraya Lennie reports from eastern Mosul.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies