BEIRUT

Middle East

ISIS kidnaps dozens in north Iraq village

Smoke rises from a bomb planted by ISIS militants after it was detonated near the Iraqi village of Tuz Khurmatu in Salahuddin province, about 88 kilometers south of Kirkuk September 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Ali al-Saadi)

KIRKUK: Jihadists kidnapped dozens of residents of a northern Iraq village Thursday after villagers burned one of their positions along with a jihadist flag, police and witnesses said.

ISIS militants had withdrawn from Tal Ali in Kirkuk province Wednesday, but returned in force Thursday and abducted some 50 people, the sources said.

It is not the first time ISIS has carried out mass kidnappings in Iraq, with the group abducting thousands of civilians as it overran minority-populated northern villages last month, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Amnesty has accused ISIS of "systematic ethnic cleansing," including mass killings, of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq.

A senior U.N. rights official has said the group is responsible for "acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale."

ISIS-led militants launched a lightning offensive in the north in June, sweeping through much of the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad before turning on Christian and Yazidi areas.

Iraqi security forces, now bolstered by thousands of Shiite militiamen as well as Kurdish fighters, have clawed back some ground northeast of Baghdad.

But significant areas, including parts of Kirkuk province, remain under militant control.

 

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