Islamist militants massacre at least 80 Yazidi men in Iraq

Islamist militants massacre at least 80 Yazidi men in Iraq

PanARMENIAN.Net - Militants in northern Iraq have massacred at least 80 men from the Yazidi faith in a village and abducted women and children, according to BBC News.

Senior Kurdish official Hoshyar Zebari said the men were killed in two groups after a column of Islamic State (IS) vehicles arrived in Kawju on Frida, Aug 15.

A U.S. drone strike later destroyed two vehicles from the convoy, he said.

Reports say warplanes have struck IS positions near the Mosul dam, captured last week. However, it is not clear whether U.S. or Iraqi aircraft were involved.

Residents near the dam told the AP that the air strikes were carried out on Saturday afternoon, killing some militants. Kurdish regional Rudaw TV earlier said several surrounding towns were also struck.

An official from U.S. Central Command declined to go into detail.

"For the safety and security of our personnel, we will not discuss or speculate on reports of ongoing or future operations," the official told the BBC.

The dam controls the water and power supply to a large area of northern Iraq.

Before carrying out the massacre in Kawju village, IS fighters reportedly told men to convert to Islam or die.

Zebari, until recently Iraq's foreign minister, confirmed the attack after it was reported by Yazidi activists based in Washington.

The US military confirmed the destruction by drones of two vehicles identified as belonging to IS near Sinjar on Friday morning, after receiving reports from Kurdish forces that the militants were attacking civilians.

Zebari added that Kawju and other Yazidi villages had been reassured by nearby Sunni Muslim villages that they would protect them from harm, but were unable to keep those assurances when IS decided to attack.

The killings took place over the space of an hour, said a Yazidi MP, Mahama Khalil, who reportedly spoke to survivors.

A resident of a nearby village said an IS fighter from the same area had given him details of the bloodshed.

"He told me that the Islamic State had spent five days trying to persuade villagers to convert to Islam and that a long lecture was delivered about the subject today," said the villager, according to the BBC.

The villagers were assembled at Kocho's only school, after which the men were shot, the activists said. Remaining villagers were then put on buses for an unknown destination.

IS-led violence has driven an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis from their homes. Whole communities of Yazidis and Christians have been forced to flee in the north, along with Shia Iraqis, whom IS do not regard as true Muslims.

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