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ISIS Committed Mass Executions In Tikrit: Human Rights Watch

Citing satellite imagery and grisly photographic evidence, Human Rights Watch says ISIS carried out mass executions in Iraq's northern city of Tikrit.

ISIS Committed Mass Executions In Tikrit: Human Rights Watch
The Telegraph / ISIS
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ISIS militants executed at least 160 captives in Iraq's northern city Tikrit earlier this month, according to Human Rights Watch

Citing satellite imagery and grisly photographic evidence, the U.S.-based rights group says militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria executed between 160 and 190 Iraqi service members in Tikrit between June 11 and 14. (Via Human Rights Watch)

The group's emergencies director Peter Bouckaert wrote in a statement, "The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation." (Via Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights Watch goes on to say the number of victims might be much higher but that "the difficulty of locating bodies and accessing the area has prevented a full investigation." 

Earlier this month, the Sunni-led extremist group claimed to have executed 1,700 Shiite Iraqi service members after overrunning swaths of territory in the country's north. It then posted gruesome photos and videos to its website purportedly showing the executed men. (Via YouTube / عمر الفاروق)

A chief Iraqi military spokesperson confirmed the images' authenticity shortly after they surfaced but said Iraqi military experts believed only about 170 service members were executed.  

Analysts say the executions in Tikrit appear to be aimed at imbuing fear in Iraq's primarily Shiite military forces, which eroded as ISIS militants swept across the country's Sunni-dominated north in a matter of days. (Via YouTube / Nasrun Min Allah)​

ISIS' rapid advance has renewed sectarian tensions in the region, which has a long history of brutality between religious and ethnic groups. 

In a display of might against the approaching ISIS threat, Baghdad's largest Shiite militia staged a rally in the Iraqi capital last week. And although the country's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has promised the city is secure, many Iraqi leaders are pushing for his removal due to his failure to reach out to the Sunni and Kurdish minorities and unify Iraq. (Via The Telegraph, BBC)

Thursday Iraq's vice president called for the country's parliament to meet next week to start the process of creating a new, more unified government.