BAGHDAD: ISIS militants kidnapped some 50 men from a town in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk Thursday, dragging the men into cars before driving off, residents said.
Residents of the Sunni town of Hawija said by telephone they did not know why the men had been taken from a district on the edge of the town. The men were loaded onto trucks and driven away, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.
They added that ISIS had not faced any resistance from the town’s inhabitants.
The militants had retreated from the village the day before, fearing an attack by the Iraqi army. When they left, residents set fire to an ISIS flag.
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.
The Defense Ministry said on state television Iraqi forces had killed three “leaders” of ISIS in three separate attacks on Mosul and Tal Afar in the north.
One, named Abu Hajar al-Souri, was reportedly a senior aide to the self-proclaimed ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, a car bomb killed 12 people and wounded 30 in the capital’s mainly Shiite Kadhamiya neighborhood Thursday evening, police said. The explosion was the fourth attack in Shiite districts of the capital in two weeks.
“Cars are set ablaze ... this place has been targeted several times as it’s very crowded,” a policeman near the blast scene said.