BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State group extremists lined up and shot dead at least 50 Iraqi tribesmen, women and children Sunday, officials said, the latest mass slaying by militants who have killed some 150 members of the tribe in recent days as reported.
The killings, all committed in public, target the Sunni Al Bu Nimr tribe that the Islamic State group now apparently views as a threat, though previously some Sunnis backed the expansion of the group and other militants into the volatile province in December.
Meanwhile, separate attacks around Baghdad killed at least 19 people, authorities said.
Sunday’s attack on the Sunni tribe took place in the village of Ras al-Maa, north of Ramadi, the provincial capital. There, the militant group killed at least 40 men, six women and four children, lining them up and publicly killing them one by one, Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a senior tribesman, told The Associated Press. The militants also kidnapped another 17 people, he said.
An official with the Anbar governor’s office corroborated the tribesman’s account. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief journalists.
The attack Sunday against Al Bu Nimr tribe comes after militants killed another 50 members of its members late Friday and 48 on Thursday, according to various officials who have spoken to the AP.
The militant Islamist State group has overrun a large part of Anbar province in its push to expand its territory across Iraq and Syria. Officials with the Iraqi government, as well as officials with the U.S.-led coalition targeting the extremists, repeatedly have said that Iraqi tribes are key elements in the fight against the Islamic State group since they are able to penetrate areas inaccessible to airstrikes and ground forces.
However, some Sunnis in Anbar supported militants — including the Sunni militants of Islamic State group — when they seized Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in December. That came after widespread Sunnis protests against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad for what they described as second-hand treatment.
Since the Islamic State group’s major offensive in Iraq, a number of Iraq’s Sunni tribes have been fundamental in stalling its advance, taking up arms and fighting alongside Iraqi security forces.
Ramadi has yet to fall in part because key Sunni tribes in the city. The Jughaifi and al-Bunimer tribes have helped Iraqi special forces protect the Haditha Dam in Anbar. In the battleground town of Dhuluiyah, the al-Jabbouri tribe has been the sole resistance to an Islamic State militant takeover.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his new government have vowed to create a community-driven national guard that would empower local tribes. Other tribes have not been won over, and have allied themselves with the militant group as a means for contesting the Shiite-led government.
In the vast province of Anbar, some 5,000 tribesmen back government efforts to take part in the fight and receive arms and financial compensation. With tribes often numbering 30,000 to 40,000 people, the effort still has a long way to go, however.
Elsewhere Sunday, a car bomb attack near tents serving Shiite pilgrims killed 14 people and wounded 32 in Baghdad, police and medical officials said. They said the bombing in Baghdad’s Bayaa district struck as people delivered food to pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala to mark the religious holiday of Ashoura.
Ashoura commemorates the seventh-century death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and an iconic martyr among Shiite Muslims. Sunni insurgents frequently target Shiites whom considered as heretics.
Later on, authorities said a roadside bomb explosion targeting an army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded four in Baghdad’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib. In eastern Baghdad, police said a bomb in a commercial street in the al-Ameen district killed three people and wounded four.
Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures from the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.