Isis militants shoot dead at least 50 Iraqi men, women and children in tribe massacre

The attack on Sunday against the Al Bu Nimr tribe comes after militants killed another 50 of its members late on Friday and 48 on Thursday

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Isis extremists have shot dead at least 50 men, women and children in the Iraq province in Anbar today.

The attack against the Al Bu Nimr tribe comes after militants killed another 50 members of the tribe late on Friday and 48 on Thursday.

The public killings have targeted a Sunni tribe that Isis apparently now views as a threat, though previously some Sunnis backed the expansion of the group and other militants into the volatile province in December.

Sunday's attack took place in the village of Ras al-Maa, north of Ramadi, the provincial capital. There, the militant group killed at least 40 men, six women and four children.

They were lined and publicly killed one by one, according to Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a senior tribesman. The militants also kidnapped another 17 people, he said.

An official within the Anbar governor's office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, corroborated the tribesman's account.

The militant Islamist group has overrun a large part of Anbar province in its push to expand its territory across Iraq and Syria.

Officials with the Iraqi government, as well as officials with the US-led coalition targeting the extremists, have repeatedly said that Iraqi tribes are key elements in the fight against Isis since they are able to penetrate areas inaccessible to airstrikes and ground forces.

Since Isis' major offensive in Iraq, a number of Iraq's Sunni tribes have been fundamental in stalling its advance, taking up arms and fighting alongside Iraqi security forces.

Ramadi, the provincial capital, has yet to fall in part because of key Sunni tribes in the city.

The Jughaifi and al-Bunimer tribes have helped Iraqi special forces protect the Haditha Dam in Anbar.

In the battleground town of Dhuluiyah, the al-Jabbouri tribe has been the sole resistance to an Isis takeover.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his new government has vowed to create a community-driven national guard that would empower local tribes.

Other tribes have not been won over, and have allied themselves with the militant group as a means for contesting the Shiite-led government.

In the vast province of Anbar, some 5,000 tribesmen back government efforts to take part in the fight and receive arms and financial compensation.

But with tribes often numbering 30,000 to 40,000 people, the effort still has a long way to go.

Additional reporting by Associated Press