The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham captured and then executed 20 Iraqi soldiers yesterday in the north.
Iraqi officials said the soldiers were captured after the ISIS ambushed a military convoy in Ain al-Jahash in Ninewa province, Reuters reported. The ISIS fighters were dressed in Iraqi military uniforms and used Iraqi Army vehicles to “surprise” the troops, an Iraqi officer told the news agency.
The soldiers were taken and then “executed” shortly afterward, another officer said.
“All the soldiers’ bodies bore bullet wounds to the head … they were all executed and this is the hallmark of ISIL groups,” another Iraqi Army officer told Reuters.
In the past, the ISIS has released videos of the execution of captured Iraqi soldiers and police. Earlier this year, the Anbar Division, one of 16 administrative areas in territory under its control or influence in Iraq and Syria, released two videos of the brutal execution of more than 20 Iraqi soldiers who were captured in Fallujah.
In March 2012, the ISIS captured and executed 27 policemen, including two commanders, in the city of Haditha in Anbar province. In that attack, a large convoy of al Qaeda fighters, some disguised as policemen, entered the town, and overran police and military outposts. The ISIS videotaped the attack and later released it.
Today’s execution highlights the worsening security situation in Iraq. The ISIS controls Fallujah and its dam, and other cities and towns along the Euphrates River Valley. Just recently, the ISIS held a parade that included captured Iraqi military hardware in Abu Ghraib, a city only two miles outside Baghdad. [See LWJ report, ISIS parades on outskirts of Baghdad.]
The Iraqi military launched an offensive just two days ago to retake Fallujah, but reports indicate the Army is plagued by desertions and the deaths of hundreds of its soldiers.