ISIS mass ex­e­cu­tion at Mo­sul prison leaves 600 dead, mostly Shi­ites

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Is­lamic State group mil­i­tants sys­tem­at­i­cally executed at least 600 Iraqi pris­on­ers in a sin­gle mas­sacre this sum­mer in Mo­sul, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from Hu­man Rights Watch re­leased Thurs­day.

Sur­vivors and wit­nesses gave dis­turb­ing ac­counts of the mas­sacre at the Badoush prison, and an HRW in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the ex­trem­ist group’s ac­tions to “amount to war crimes and most likely crimes against hu­man­ity.”

The ma­jor­ity of the executed men were Shi­ite Mus­lims. The Is­lamic State group, also known as ISIS, is Sunni.

“The grue­some de­tails of ISIS’ mass mur­der of prison in­mates make it im­pos­si­ble to deny the de­prav­ity of this ex­trem­ist group,” se­nior ter­ror­ism and coun­tert­er­ror­ism re­searcher Letta Tayler told HRW.

When mil­i­tants from the group cap­tured Iraq’s se­cond-big­gest city, Mo­sul, in June, the Badoush prison housed nearly 3,000 in­mates. The day be­fore the mass ex­e­cu­tion, the prison had no food and prison guards were in a panic, one sur­vivor told HRW. Guards re­port­edly changed into civil­ian cloth­ing and fled that night.

“They told us, ‘Mo­sul has fallen to ISIS. Es­cape if you can.’ But the cell door was locked. It was chaos in­side,” said a Yezidi sur­vivor whom HRW called R.K.

ISIS man­aged to break into the prison with help from in­mates who had al­ready pledged al­le­giance to the group's self-de­clared caliphate.

Sur­vivors said around 1,500 in­mates were then moved to a de­serted area some 2 km away from the build­ing. The pris­on­ers were sep­a­rated by re­li­gion and then mil­i­tants drove the Sun­nis and Chris­tians to a dif­fer­ent area.

Mil­i­tants then robbed the re­main­ing Shi­ites and or­dered them to kneel along the edge of a ravine, raise a hand, and counted out the num­bers.

“I was num­ber 43. I heard them say ‘615’ and then one ISIS guy said, ‘We’re go­ing to eat well tonight.’ A man be­hind us asked, ‘Are you ready?'” said one sur­vivor whom HRW called A.S.

Mil­i­tants then be­gan fir­ing ma­chine guns, shoot­ing pris­on­ers from be­hind and only stop­ping when they had run out of am­mu­ni­tion. Be­fore they left, ISIS mil­i­tants set fire to the mas­sacre site.

A.S. told HRW he felt a bul­let hit his head and his arm be­fore fall­ing un­con­scious.

“Be­fore they started shoot­ing, I man­aged to kiss the men on each side of me, be­cause we knew we were go­ing to die,” A.S. said. “After we said good­bye to each other, I took my daugh­ter’s pic­ture and kissed it, and I prayed to God to save me for her.”

The fol­low­ing day, ISIS executed be­tween 560 and 770 men about 200 km (120 mi) from the prison, in Tikrit. The mil­i­tant group posted videos and pho­tos of the ex­e­cu­tion to so­cial me­dia ac­counts and claimed to have executed 1,700 Shi­ite Iraqi sol­diers that day.

The Is­lamic State group's flag over a bridge in Mo­sul, Iraq alHayat Me­dia Cen­ter.

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