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Islamic State frees hundreds of Yazidis

By Andrew V. Pestano
Islamic State frees hundreds of Yazidis
The Islamic State controls the city of Mosul, Iraq, where the captive were held. In this picture, volunteers from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take up their position as they fight with Kurdish forces against the militants from the Islamic State, near Khazer town near Mosul on August 10, 2014. The U.S. military said it had attacked Islamic State targets throughout Sunday, successfully conducting multiple airstrikes using fighter planes and drones to defend Kurdish forces near Erbil. Photo by Mohammed al Jumaily/UPI | License Photo

KIRKUK, Iraq, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Islamic State militants freed about 250 infant and elderly Yazidi people who were held in captivity for at least six months in Mosul, Iraq.

They were released Saturday and arrived in the city of Kirkuk. They are now under the care of Kurdish authorities.

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Most of the freed were elderly people in poor health. It is unclear why the Islamic State released them.

Yazidi is a religious sect that incorporates elements of different faiths. There are about 500,000 Yazidi worldwide, most live in Iraq, and they are often stigmatized because they are seen as devil worshipers by some religious groups.

About 3,000 Yazidi are believed to remain captive.

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