Iraq crisis: Executions and rape reported as Islamist militants close in on Baghdad

Summary executions, rape and atrocities reported in Mosul

Islamist militants are closing in on Baghdad after capturing two towns north of Iraq's capital.

Officials said Iraqi soldiers abandoned their posts with no resistance when fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) pushed into Diyala province.

Militants driving machine gun-mounted pickups entered the towns of Jalula and Sadiyah on Thursday night, police said. Jalula is 80 miles from Baghdad and Sadiyah is 60 miles away.

Sunni fundamentalist fighters have vowed to capture Baghdad and Shia holy cities further south after overrunning Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and driving the army out of northern provinces.

The UN said hundreds have been killed - with militants carrying out summary executions of civilians in Mosul, including 17 civilians in one street.

A dozen Iraqi security personnel were also killed and four women committed suicide after being raped.

Read more: Baghdad prepares for the worst
Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia

UNAMI, the UN's mission to Iraq, estimates that almost 1,000 people may have been injured in recent days and half a million residents have fled Mosul.

A court employee in the Dawasa area of central Mosul  was executed, said spokesman Rupert Colville.

Prisoners released by the militants from Mosul prison had been looking to exact revenge on those responsible for their incarceration and some went to Tikrit and killed seven former prison officers there, Mr Colville said.

“We've also had reports suggesting that government forces have also committed excesses, in particular the shelling of civilian areas on 6 and 8 June in Mosul, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties,” he added.

“There are claims that up to 30 civilians may have been killed during this shelling.”

The UN has also been told that Iraqi government forces were not allowing people to leave Mosul at one point and Isis are now using their own checkpoints to target dissenters.

Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has so far been unable to form a coherent response the al-Qaida-inspired group as the power of his Shia-led government evaporates in parts of the country.

He failed an attempt for parliament to declare a state of emergency on Thursday and has asked Barack Obama for help to combat the growing insurgency.

The US President said he was "ruling nothing out" but David Cameron and William Hague have stressed that the UK will not be sending in troops.

It is the biggest threat to Iraq’s stability since the withdrawal of US forces in 2011 and has pushed it nearer the prospect of partition into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish zones.

The rise of Isis, which wants to impose Sharia law, raises the prospect of more sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing. Much of Baghdad was cleansed of its Sunni population in 2005 and 2006.

A representative for Iraq's top Shia cleric has called on Iraqis to defend their country by joining security forces to battle the militants.

Sheik Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie said it is “a duty” for citizens to defend against “the dangers threatening Iraq”.

Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, a spokesman for Isis, said that the Shia, 60 per cent of the Iraqi population, “are a disgraced people”, accusing them of being “polytheists”.

Security officials said the fighters managed to take control of two weapons depots holding 400,000 weapons, including AK-47 rifles, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, artillery shells and mortars.

A quarter of the stockpiles were sent to Syria, they said.

Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit was overrun by the militants on Wednesday and witnesses said fighters raised posters of the late dictator and Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, his former deputy who escaped the 2003 invasion and has eluded security forces ever since.

The nine-year Shia dominance over Iraq, established after the US, Britain and other allies overthrew Saddam Hussein, may be coming to an end.

The power vacuum in the northern city of Kirkuk has been filled by Kurdish security forces, who have taken over an airbase and other abandoned military posts.

Americans were evacuated from an Iraqi air base north of Baghdad amid the panic and Germany has urged citizens to leave parts of the country, including Baghdad, immediately.

President Obama said Iraq will need more help from the United States, but he did not specify what it would be willing to provide. Officials said Washington is considering drone missions.

“We do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter,” he said in Washington.

The UN Security Council met on the crisis, underscoring the growing international alarm over the advances by Isis.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said Britain could offer assistance with counter-terrorism expertise to authorities in Iraq.

Speaking after talks on Iraq with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London, Mr Hague stressed that Britain has no intention of sending troops into the country.

But he said that a team from the Department for International Development was now on the ground in northern Iraq to see what humanitarian help the UK can give, and made clear that Britain is also ready to advise the Baghdad administration.

Mr Hague also urged Iraq's political leaders from different communities to unite in responding to the “brutal aggression against their country”, and said that Britain would continue to press at the United Nations for a concerted international response.

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters

Read more: PATRICK COCKBURN: ‘DO NOT FALL PREY TO YOUR VANITIES’ - THE PHILOSOPHY OF IRAQ’S NEW CONQUERORS
ISLAMIST MILITANTS ATTACK TIKRIT AND NEAR BAGHDAD AFTER 500,000 ARE FORCED TO FLEE MOSUL 
CAPTURE OF MOSUL USHERS IN THE BIRTH OF A SUNNI CALIPHATE
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Engineer - Managed Services Provider

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Eng...

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot