The file photo taken on Dec. 29, 2017 shows two Iraqi soldiers talking outside the damaged al-Nuri mosque, in Mosul, Iraq. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 11, 2018 offered to reconstruct the historical Grand Mosque of al-Nuri and its famous leaning minaret, the Iraqi government said. On June 21, 2017, IS militants blew up Mosul's al-Nuri Mosque and its al-Hadbaa minaret. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
BAGHDAD, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sunday offered to reconstruct the historical Grand Mosque of al-Nuri and its famous leaning minaret, the Iraqi government said.
A statement by the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the UAE Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Ahmed al-Shihi submitted the request on behalf of his country when he was received by Abadi in the office.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, initiated the offer of reconstruction of al-Nuri Mosque and its al-Hadbaa minaret, one of the most famous landmarks in the Old City of the devastated city of Mosul, the statement said.
Shihi said that a special envoy from the UAE would come to Baghdad for this purpose, according to the statement.
For his part, Abadi confirmed Iraq's keenness to strengthen relations with the UAE on the basis of mutual interests of the people of the two countries, it added.
Mosul, 400 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, has been under control of the extremist Islamic State (IS) militants since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.
On June 21, 2017, IS militants blew up Mosul's al-Nuri Mosque and its al-Hadbaa minaret, as Iraqi forces were pushing near the Mosque area in the western side of Mosul.
Al-Nuri Mosque was built in 1172 with its famous leaning minaret, which gave the city its nickname "al-Hadbaa" or "the hunchback." It has a symbolic value, as it was the place where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the cross-border "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria in his sole public appearance in July 2014.
On July 10, Abadi officially declared Mosul's liberation from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.