During the last eight months, Iraqi forces have fought to corner Islamic State militants into an ever-dwindling area of the city of Mosul.
Troops this week began the long-anticipated assault on the Old City quarter, the last district still in the extremist group’s hands.
And Wednesday, officials said militants destroyed the iconic Nuri mosque, the site where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi declared the group’s caliphate three years ago.
As the pressure has increased around Mosul since the government offensive to retake it began Oct. 17, the fight has apparently transformed into a so-called cauldron battle, where the militants have no chance of escape. Their only...