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Middle East

'IS' committing massacres in Mosul as Iraqi forces push forward, says UN

Scores of civilians have been executed by the "Islamic State" as the group loses ground, the UN reported. French President Francois Hollande has called for militants to be "destroyed and eradicated everywhere."

UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville on Tuesday said the "self-styled "Islamic State" (IS)" militant group had committed massacres in and around its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, citing on-the-ground sources.

At least 50 former Iraqi police officers had been executed in a building on the outskirts of Mosul on Sunday, while Iraqi security forces discovered the bodies of 70 civilians near the Tuloul Naser village, Colville said.

"The bodies had bullet wounds, but it is not known for sure at this point who was responsible for the killings," he noted.

The UN's sources accused the militant group of executing 15 civilians in Safina, 28 miles (45 kilometers) south of Mosul, and throwing their bodies in a nearby river. Colville said it may have been a move to terrorize residents in the village.

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He added that "Islamic State" militants in Safina "reportedly tied six civilians to a vehicle by their hands and dragged them around the village, apparently simply because they were related to a particular tribal leader fighting against ISIL," an alternative acronym for the militant group.

In a separate incident, three women and three girls were shot and killed for reportedly falling behind during a forced relocation of another village near Mosul.

"The victims were lagging behind because one of the children had a disability. She was apparently amongst those shot and killed," Colville noted.

"We very much fear that these will not be the last such reports we receive of such barbaric acts by ISIL," the UN spokesman said.

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'Destroyed and eradicated'

Last week, Iraqi government forces launched a major offensive to retake control of the "Islamic State" stronghold, a military campaign that is likely to witness up to one million people displaced, according to UN estimates.

French President Francois Hollande warned defense ministers of the US-led coalition - against the "Islamic state" - of the fallout that the Mosul offensive may cause.

"The recapture is not an end in itself. We must already anticipate the consequences of the fall of Mosul," Hollande said during the Tuesday meeting.

Ahead of the Mosul offensive, European officials raised concerns that fleeing foreign fighters may attempt to return to their home countries, presenting significant challenges to security across the EU.

Up to 5,000 militants are believed to be fighting in Mosul, of which 300 are French nationals, according to authorities.

"If Mosul falls, Raqqa will be Daesh's last bastion … We must see to it that Daesh is destroyed and eradicated everywhere," Holland said, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym.

ls/rc (Reuters, AFP)

 

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