U.N. cites more killings, tor­ture by Is­lamic State

Bod­ies rid­dled with bul­lets, hang­ing from phone poles

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Adam Schreck and Brian Ro­han

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.

ODD AN­DER­SEN/GETTY-AFP

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