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Amnesty urges Iraq to investigate civilian executions near Mosul

Amnesty International has said Iraqi government forces tortured and executed civilians with suspected IS ties outside Mosul. The group has called for an investigation into what it describes as "war crimes."

The human rights group announced on Thursday that it gathered evidence indicating that up to six villagers were executed by Iraqi government forces near Mosul in late October.

"Men in Federal Police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul. said Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for research at Amnesty's Beirut office.

"In some cases the residents were tortured before they were shot dead execution-style," she added.

The victims were suspected of being linked to the militant "Islamic State" (IS) group and were found in villages south of Mosul.

Groups of men were beaten with cables and rifle butts before being shot to death, while one man's head had been severed from his body, the rights group said.

Amnesty called on Iraqi authorities to carry out independent investigations into the killings, which the group says are a breach of international law.

"Without effective measures to suppress and punish serious violations, there is a real risk that we could see war crimes of this kind repeated" during the Mosul operation.

Thursday's announcement is the first such report of unlawful executions in a US-backed campaign to retake Mosul from IS.

On October 17, Iraqi troops, Kurdish peshmerga and Shiite Muslim militias backed by a US-led air alliance started a campaign to drive out IS from Iraq's second-largest city. The ultra-hardline jihadist group took control of the area in 2014.

rs/bw (dpa, Reuters)

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