Air strikes tar­get Is­lamic mil­i­tants

CityPress - - News -

Air strikes pounded the area around Iraq’s largest dam yes­ter­day as an ef­fort to drive out Is­lamic ex­trem­ists who cap­tured it ear­lier this month strength­ened, and as re­ports emerged of the mas­sacre of about 80 mem­bers of the Yazidi re­li­gious mi­nor­ity by the mil­i­tants.

Res­i­dents liv­ing near the Mo­sul Dam said the area was be­ing tar­geted in air strikes, but it was not im­me­di­ately clear if they were be­ing car­ried out by Iraq’s air force or by the US. Last week, the US be­gan launch­ing air strikes aimed at halt­ing the ad­vance of the Is­lamic State across the coun­try’s north.

The ex­trem­ist group seized the dam on the Ti­gris River on Au­gust 7. Res­i­dents near the dam said the air strikes killed mil­i­tants, but that could not im­me­di­ately be con­firmed.

The res­i­dents spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they feared for their safety.

Mean­while, a Yazidi leg­is­la­tor and a Kur­dish se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said the Is­lamic State mas­sa­cred scores of Yazidi men on Fri­day af­ter­noon af­ter seiz­ing the vil­lage of Ko­cho.

Both said they based their in­for­ma­tion on the ac­counts of sur­vivors and warned that the mi­nor­ity group re­mained in dan­ger de­spite US aid drops and strikes launched to pro­tect them.

Is­lamic State fight­ers be­sieged the vil­lage for sev­eral days and gave its Yazidi res­i­dents a dead­line to con­vert to Is­lam, said Yazidi leg­is­la­tor Mahma Khalil yes­ter­day.

“When the res­i­dents re­fused to do this, the mas­sacre took place,” he said.

Tens of thou­sands of Yazidis fled when the Is­lamic State group cap­tured the north­ern Iraqi town of Sin­jar near the Syr­ian border ear­lier this month. – AP

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