​45 people ‘burned to death’ by ISIS jihadists in Iraq

Reuters / Stringer
Islamic State militants have reportedly burnt 45 people alive near the town al-Baghdadi in western Iraq. News of the atrocities follows the recent beheading of 21 Christians in Libya and the brutal burning to death of a Jordanian pilot.

According to local police chief Colonel Qasim al-Obeidi, cited by the BBC, some of the executed people may be from Iraqi security forces, but no precise data was given. Al-Obeidi also reportedly said the town was under attack, particularly its security forces and official buildings, and asked the Iraqi government and international community for help.

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The town al-Baghdadi in Anbar province was seized by the militants last Thursday. It is located only eight kilometers away from the Iraqi air base Ain al-Asad, which houses over 300 American Marines who train local forces. The militants unsuccessfully attempted to capture the base on Friday as well, even using several suicide bombers in the attack.

About 90 percent of the territory of the al-Baghdadi district is under the control of the Islamic State, Reuters reported, citing an Iraqi official.

In another setback for the fight against the Islamic State, one of the commanders of Shia militia forces, cleric Moqtada Sadr, declared that his troops have withdrawn from a larger Shia militia group fighting the extremists. Sadr said that Shia groups not under his control were “wreaking havoc through murdering, kidnapping and violating sanctuaries.” The militia has been accused of brutality towards Sunni civilians.

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The news follows several acts of extreme violence committed by the insurgents. A video released on Sunday showed the beheading of 21 Christian Egyptians kidnapped in Libya. The next day, the Egyptian Air Forces hit Islamic state position in Libya.

The current crime is the second case of burning people to death this year. In the beginning of February, the insurgents released a video showing the execution of Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh. Al-Kasasbeh was captured by militants in late December, when they downed his jet over Syria as it participated in US-led airstrikes against the militant group. According to the video, he was burnt alive in a cage.