U.N. cites more killings, torture by Islamic State
Bodies riddled with bullets, hanging from phone poles
BASHIQA, Iraq — New reports emerged Friday of public killings and other atrocities committed against Mosul residents by Islamic State militants, including dozens of civilians whose bullet-riddled bodies were hung from telephone poles after they were accused of using cellphones to leak information to Iraqi security forces.
The United Nations human rights office said Islamic State fighters killed some 70 civilians in Mosul this week, part of a litany of abuses to come to light in recent days, including torture, sexual exploitation of women and girls, and use of child soldiers filmed executing civilians.
The revelations are the latest reports of Islamic State brutality as the group retreats into dense urban quarters of Iraqi’s secondlargest city, forcing the population to go with them as human shields.
In its report, the U.N. human rights office in Geneva said Islamic State shot and killed 40 people Tuesday after accusing them of “treason and collaboration,” saying they communicated with Iraqi security forces by cellphone.
The bodies, dressed in orange jumpsuits, were hung from poles in Mosul.
A day later, the extremists reportedly shot to death 20 civilians at a military base. Their bodies were hung at intersections in Mosul, with signs saying they “used cellphones to leak information.”
A Mosul resident, reached by telephone, said crowds have watched the killings in horror. One vic- An Iraqi Special Forces soldier guards suspected Islamic State fighters found hiding in a house Friday in Mosul. tim was a former police colonel, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.
The violence is part of a disturbing pattern. As the army advances, Islamic State militants have rounded up thousands and killed those with suspected links to the security forces.
The militants have gone door to door in villages south of Mosul, ordering hundreds to march at gunpoint into the city. Combat in Mosul’s dense urban areas is expected to be heavy, and the presence of civilians will slow the army’s advance as it seeks to avoid casualties.
Islamic State militants have boasted of the atrocities in grisly online photos and video. The U.N. has urged authorities to collect evidence of Islamic State abuses of civilians to use in prosecuting the militants in tribunals.
Iraqi troops are advancing from four fronts on Mosul, the last major Islamic State holdout in Iraq. As Iraqi special forces battle in eastern neighborhoods of the city, Kurdish peshmerga forces are holding a line north of the city, while Iraqi army and militarized police units approach from the south. Government- sanctioned Shiite militias are guarding western approaches.
In the formerly Islamic State-held town of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, Kurdish commander Gen. Hamid Effendi said his forces were working to secure the area but faced booby traps that were holding up the advance.
More than a thousand unexploded bombs are thought buried in Bashiqa, Effendi said. Over 100 Islamic State fighters have been killed in combat, he said, but wounded fighters likely remain in tunnels.
On Friday, teams went building by building into the night detonating explosives left behind in Bashiqa, deserted except for a few residents trickling in to check on their homes and businesses.
Among them was 60year-old Khan Amir Mohammed, who discovered that his home had been turned into a mortar post by the militants, who dug seven tunnels on his family’s 3 acre property before retreating.
Ammunition tubes and English-language instruction pamphlets for launching mortars littered the floor in one room.
A nearby shop where Mohammed sold animal feed had collapsed from an apparent airstrike.
“What can I say? I feel powerless,” he said, surveying the destruction.