• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 12:32pm

Yazidis 'massacred' by jihadists in northern Iraq village: reports

Islamic State militants execute group of Yazidis at surrounded village after giving them option to convert or die as airstrikes hit captured dam

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 8:15pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 August, 2014, 9:33am

Islamist extremists in Iraq killed 80 Yazidi men and abducted their wives and children, witnesses said yesterday, insisting the religious community was still at risk after a week of US and Iraqi airstrikes on the militants.

Airstrikes, meanwhile, targeted insurgents around Iraq's largest dam, which was captured by the Islamic State extremist group earlier this month, according to nearby residents. It was not clear who carried out the strikes.

The United States began launching airstrikes against Islamic State a week ago, in part to prevent the massacre of tens of thousands of Yazidis stranded on a mountaintop. After most were able to escape with the help of Kurdish fighters, US President Barack Obama took credit for alleviating the threat of genocide.

But on Friday Islamic State fighters who had surrounded the nearby village of Kocho 12 days ago, demanding its Yazidi residents convert or die, moved in.

The militants took the men away in groups of a few dozen and shot them dead with assault rifles on the edge of the village, according to a wounded man who escaped by feigning death.

The fighters then walked among the bodies, finishing off any who appeared to still be alive with their pistols, the 42-year-old man said by phone from an area where he was hiding out.

"They thought we were dead, and when they went away, we ran away. We hid in a valley until sundown, and then we fled to the mountains," he said.

Yazidi lawmaker Mahma Khalil said the men in Kocho were given the choice to convert or die. "When the residents refused to do this, the massacre took place," he said.

Halgurd Hekmat, a spokesman for Kurdish security forces, said the militants took the women and children of Kocho to the nearby city of Tal Afar, which is controlled by Islamic State.

Elsewhere in northern Iraq, residents living near the Mosul Dam said that the area was being targeted by airstrikes, but it was not clear whether the attacks were being carried out by Iraq's air force or US jets.

The extremists seized the dam on the Tigris on August 7.

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

The plight of the Yazidis, tens of thousands of whom were stranded on a desert mountaintop for days, encircled by the Islamist extremists, also prompted US and Iraqi forces to launch aid drops. It also contributed to the US decision to launch airstrikes against the militants, who were advancing on the Kurdish regional capital Arbil.

Most of those Yazidis were able to escape to Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdish region with the help of Kurdish fighters.

But Islamic State remains in control of vast areas of northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, and the scale of the humanitarian crisis prompted the UN to declare its highest level of emergency earlier this week.

Yesterday, Britain's Ministry of Defence said it had deployed a spy plane over northern Iraq to monitor the humanitarian crisis and movements of Islamic State militants. Two British planes also landed in Arbil yesterday carrying humanitarian supplies.

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, meanwhile, announced more than €24 million (HK249 million) in humanitarian aid to Iraq.


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I would not be surprised now if Hamas just sits and continues to reject deals until "Israel" gets the blame for not giving into their ridiculous demands that would allow it to re-arm. This is the scenario that many of us have feared. After Israel sits down at a table everyone starts dealing cards under the table top. It may take a little while but pretty soon people will start to demand that Israel give into some of the conditions that will guarantee that Hamas can re-arm. If I were Israel I would state that Hamas has two weeks to work out what it will with Israel and make it plain that Israel is not going to play a game of political re-armament. Hamas needs to settle for peace or settle on war. I would say that the time for either and the choice for either are in their hands right now. Israel needs to defend it's people, both today and into the future. It will not allow Hamas to use friends at the UN or EU to finagle a way in which to re-arm. Today we see wars and rumors of wars all over the world. We have Russia in a situation where it looks like it is possibly going to invade the Ukraine, China continues it's militaristic push to control oil bearing Islands in the Asian Pacific, ISIS continues on with limited US intervention and Syria and Iraq are still in upheaval. There are so many wars and rumors of wars going on, what I listed above are only the best known ones. There are some tough times ahead, however the Bible does state good news about all of the wars


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