Iraqi forces said they had recaptured the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul on Thursday, where Islamic State “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had proclaimed himself the leader of the terrorist group exactly three years ago, The Guardian reported. “Their fictitious state has fallen,” Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV according to Reuters.

Iraqi Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said special forces had entered the mosque compound and taken control of the surrounding streets on Thursday afternoon. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had “issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion,” his office said on Wednesday.

Islamic State militants had on June 22 destroyed the Hadba minaret adjoining the mosque, causing extensive damage to the surrounding area. Iraqi special forces Major General Sami al-Afridi has warned that the mosque site will have to be cleared by engineering teams as Islamic State militants could have rigged it with explosives.

Meanwhile, five Islamic State militants were killed on Wednesday while trying to swim across the Tigris river from the west to the east of Mosul, armed with explosives. But it is suspected that about 100 militants are still hiding in Mosul, where there are still thousands of civilians.