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Islamic State executes 70 members of anti-IS Sunni tribe in Iraq

The Al Bu Nimr tribe has long been an ally of the coalition effort against the Islamic State.

By
Fred Lambert
Iraqi soldiers on April 08, 2015 collect military equipment found at a mass grave near Tikrit, Iraq, containing the bodies of Iraqi soldiers killed by militants with the Islamic State. On Oct. 4, 2015, IS militants executed 70 members of the Al Bu Nimr tribe, a Sunni Arab clan from the Anbar province that is allied with the Shia-led Baghdad government against IS forces. Photo by Mushtaq Mohammed /UPI
Iraqi soldiers on April 08, 2015 collect military equipment found at a mass grave near Tikrit, Iraq, containing the bodies of Iraqi soldiers killed by militants with the Islamic State. On Oct. 4, 2015, IS militants executed 70 members of the Al Bu Nimr tribe, a Sunni Arab clan from the Anbar province that is allied with the Shia-led Baghdad government against IS forces. Photo by Mushtaq Mohammed /UPI | License Photo

KHANIZIR, Iraq, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The Islamic State executed at least 70 members of a Sunni Arab tribe aligned with the coalition against IS forces, according to a tribal elder.

The victims were with the Al Bu Nimr tribe and were shot Sunday by the militants due to their having relatives serving in Iraqi security forces, Sheikh Naeem al-Gaoud told the BBC.

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The executions took place in the Anbar province village of Khanizir, where the tribesmen fled after IS forces captured their homes in the al-Furat district of Ramadi, the provincial capital, in May.

Xinhua news agency, quoting Gaoud, reports the dead were civilians whose fathers and brothers joined army, police and paramilitary units fighting IS forces in the town of Barwana, near Haditha.

The Al Bu Nimr tribe's alliance with coalition forces goes back to the U.S. occupation, when it assisted in the 2006 and 2007 "Sunni Awakening," an effort by the U.S. military to turn moderate Sunnis in Anbar province against militants with al-Qaida in Iraq.

More recently, the tribe joined forces with the Shia-dominated Baghdad government against IS forces, which have controlled large swaths of western and northern Iraq since June 2014.

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IS forces killed at least 500 members of the tribe in 2014, including 50 who were executed by the militants in October, just days after several of the tribesmen were discovered in a mass grave.

A November 2014 battle between IS and Al Bu Nimr resulted in the deaths of 100 members of the tribe after the clansmen ran out of ammunition. Survivors accused the Iraqi government of abandonment.

At the time, officials in Baghdad contended they were doing all they could to arm the allied Sunni tribesmen but noted the Iraqi military was also taking high casualties in Anbar province.

"For Islamic State brutality can be more important, and effective, than battles," Iraqi security analyst Dr. Hisham al-Hashemi told the BBC last year. "Other Sunni tribes saw the slaughter of the Al Bu Nimr. Most will remain neutral and stay out of the fight."

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