UN: Reconstruction of landmark Mosul mosque to begin in 2020

FILE - In this July 4, 2017, file photo, fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in Iraq's Old City of Mosul. The United Nations' cultural agency says reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque in Iraq's city of Mosul is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2020. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

The United Nations' cultural agency says reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque in Iraq's city of Mosul is scheduled to start at the beginning of next year

PARIS — The United Nations' cultural agency says reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque in Iraq's old city of Mosul is scheduled to start at the beginning of next year.

UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay says rebuilding the landmark mosque once famous for its leaning minaret is part of ambitious plans to stimulate culture and revive ravaged Mosul.

Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate from the mosque in 2014. IS militants blew it up as Iraqi troops neared in 2017.

Iraq's culture minister and other Iraqi officials were with Azoulay in Paris on Wednesday as she discussed the reconstruction.

She said they'd "agreed on a timetable that would see the reconstruction start in the first semester of 2020."

The United Arab Emirates is providing $50.4 million to help finance the work.

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