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UN says wave of IS atrocities reported near Mosul

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Iraqi families who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadistds of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, are seen gathering in an area near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016. The UN refugee agency is preparing to receive 150,000 Iraqis fleeing fighting around the Islamic State group-held city of Mosul within the next few days, its chief said./ AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

Iraqi families who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadistds of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, are seen gathering in an area near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016.<br />The UN refugee agency is preparing to receive 150,000 Iraqis fleeing fighting around the Islamic State group-held city of Mosul within the next few days, its chief said./ AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

The UN said Tuesday it had received reports of dozens of execution-type killings by the Islamic State group (IS), including the slaying of 50 former police officers, as Iraqi troops close in on Mosul.

The allegations — which remain “preliminary” — have come from a range of civilian and government sources, who cannot be named for security reasons, said United Nations rights office spokesman Rupert Colville.

The reported atrocities were perpetrated by the jihadists between Wednesday and Sunday, while Iraqi forces advanced towards Mosul, the last IS bastion in the country, Colville said.

In a village called Safina, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) south of Mosul, IS was blamed for executing 15 civilians before throwing their bodies in a river, possibly to strike terror among other residents.

On October 19 also in Safina, extremist fighters “reportedly tied six civilians to a vehicle by their hands and dragged them around the village, apparently simply because they were related to a particular tribal leader fighting against ISIL,” Colville said, using another acronym for IS, also called Daesh or ISIS.

Iraqi security forces found another 70 bodies riddled with bullet wounds on October 20 in the nearby Tuloul Naser village. Colville said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for their deaths.

And on Saturday, IS gunmen allegedly shot dead three women and three girls during a forced march in Rufeila village south of Mosul.

The group was killed because they were struggling to keep up, likely because one of the girls who was ultimately shot dead had a physical disability, the rights office said.

The 50 police officers who had been held hostage by IS were reportedly executed in a building outside Mosul on Sunday, Colville told reporters in Geneva.

“We very much fear that these will not be the last such reports we receive of such barbaric acts by ISIL,” he said.

He added that all the allegations “need a bit more (investigative) work” before the UN can conclusively say they took place.

The rights office also restated its fears that IS will use civilians in Mosul as human shields as Iraqi forces fight to retake the city in an operation backed by a US-led coalition.


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