That’s the number ISIS claims to have killed in its ongoing rampage through Iraq. Yesterday the group released a disturbing series of images they claim shows the capture and execution of numerous Iraqi troops last week. Bill Roggio has full details. A glimpse from the NYT:
The photographs showed at least five massacre sites, with the victims lying in shallow mass graves with their hands tied behind their backs. The number of victims that could be seen in any of the pictures numbered between 20 and 60 in each of the sites, although it was not clear whether the photographs showed the entire graves. Some appeared to be long ditches. The photographs showed the executioners flying the ISIS black flag, with captions such as “the filthy Shiites are killed in the hundreds,” “The liquidation of the Shiites who ran away from their military bases,” and “This is the destiny of Maliki’s Shiites,” referring to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.
If the alleged executions prove accurate, the atrocity would surpass Assad’s chemical weapon attack in Syria last year, which killed 1,400:
The latest attack … would also raise the specter of the war in Iraq turning genocidal, particularly because the insurgents boasted that their victims were all Shiites. There were also fears that it could usher in a series of reprisal killings of Shiites and Sunnis, like those seen in the Iraq war in 2005-7.
A reputable theory explaining the publicity ISIS seeks with these photos:
Point of ISIS mass executions is to radicalize Shi’a population, so Shi'a do the same to Sunnis, so ISIS then becomes protectors of Sunnis.—
Aaron Y. Zelin (@azelin) June 14, 2014