The Isis militant group has reportedly carried out a seemingly unprecedented string of public executions – including throwing men accused of being gay off towers, stoning a woman accused of adultery and crucifying at least 17 young men in a 48-hour period.
Disturbing images appeared across Isis-affiliated social media accounts at the end of last week at an unusually high rate, culminating in the murder of two blindfolded men who were pushed to their deaths from a height towards a watching crowd below.
Images showing the executions began to emerge on Thursday, and were attributed to the “Information Office of the mandate of Nineveh”, a city in Iraq. They claim to show Isis militants carrying out “hudud”, the system of fixed punishments for what the group’s courts regard as serious crimes.
The pictures show the men accused of being gay at the top of a large tower overlooking the city. One image shows a man falling towards the ground, where a large crowd appears to be controlled by a line of militants. Later images show both men’s bodies at the base of the towers.
Other images from a separate incident, also reported in Nineveh, Iraq, appear to show a white-bearded militant in black robes reading from a piece of paper next to a woman with her arms tied behind her back. She appears to then be stoned to death.
And in a third set of images, two men are shown tied to crosses in a public square, their faces covered with masks. Captions claim that the men were convicted by an Islamic court of “robbing innocent civilians”, before they are shot in the head as a large crowd watches on.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the latest flurry of public executions came after Isis suffered a string of recent assassinations, and with their overall military advance across Iraq and Syria apparently on the back foot.
The monitoring group said on Friday that it was aware of Isis crucifying 17 young men in the space of 48 hours, and that it came as a direct retaliation for the deaths of 12 Syrian, Iraqi and Algerian jihadists.
The observatory said: “Isis is sending a message to all people living under its control, to say: 'This is what will happen to any opponent,” the IB Times reported.
On Saturday, the US-led anti-Isis coalition claimed to have carried out 29 air strikes on Syria and Iraq in a 24-hour period.
Sixteen strikes around seven Iraqi cities destroyed vehicles, buildings, equipment and fighting positions, as well as militants themselves, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.
In Syria, 11 airstrikes were carried out near the city of Kobani, destroying a tank and fighting positions, while others focused on targets near Abu Kamal and Dawr az Zawr.
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