Usually when we see bodies shot execution-style in the news these days, decaying in the Middle East, it’s the work of the Islamic State terror group known as Isis. But 15 such bodies, found bound and gagged and already in a state of decay, near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul this week, are reportedly Isis members themselves, victims of Iraqi vigilante forces intent on revenge and justice.
Based on graphic photos and forensic evidence from the scene, it appears the men had been taken to a field, where they were forced to kneel and then shot in the head from behind. All wore Western-style clothing, along with rope that bound their hands tightly, and most lay face down in the dirt, affirming that they had been killed execution-style.
US-based Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental tracking and advocacy group, told international media that Iraqi forces, regaining control of the area, have been rounding up thousands of suspected Isis sympathizers and killing them point-blank in scenarios similar to the gruesome one discovered this week.
With the bodies decaying in desert temperatures that can soar to as high as 130 degrees F, some had obvious signs of decomposition just a few days after their deaths. All of the men had also been blindfolded, and one had men’s underwear that bore a large logo that said “FASHION,” an ironic reality for a culture that so summarily condemns everything Western.
Using identification found in one of the deceased men’s back pockets, Reuters found a database of close to 100,000 men on Most Wanted lists in the country, with many Isis operatives and soldiers included in that data. It’s now mandated that any grown male who comes back from terrorist-held areas be matched up with the database, and many are then taken into custody.
It is likely it was men who fit this profile who met their grisly deaths this week.
Bragging of Kills
Revenge is one thing, and perhaps understandable, considering what Iraqis have suffered at the hands of these savages. But taking it perhaps a bit too far, one of these vigilante gangs, some 650 men strong, has apparently decided to brag about their kills on social media.
The group is called the Hammam al-Alil Revolution, and it seems intent on eliminating its enemies. It even tells those who follow the group to set fire to the homes of anyone they think might be related to Isis fighters, including listing the addresses of these suspects.
“We will make them regret joining [Isis],” one of the Facebook posts from the group read in late May.
Representing both sides of the violence, one man named Omar told the UK’s Telegraph that “they hurt my family, now we will hurt theirs.”
But another man, who said he was in his mid-60s, said the killings are unfair and punish people who have themselves done no wrong. The man said of his three sons who had joined the terrorists that he had “great shame for what they did,” but added that they had all been killed and that it was “not right” to further punish the family itself.
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