Islamic State group seizes 200 residents of Iraqi town

By Qassim Abdul-zahra, Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 31, 2015 at 8:21 a.m.



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BAGHDAD (AP) — The mayor of a remote, Islamic State-held town in western Iraq said on Monday that some 200 residents have been detained by the group at an unknown location following clashes there.

Trouble in Rutbah, in Anbar province near the Jordanian border, started Saturday when Islamic State militants killed a local resident for killing a member of the group as part of a long-running clan blood feud. Hundreds of residents demonstrated later that day to protest the killing and clashes broke out when the militants attempted to disperse the protesters.

A provincial Anbar official said Saturday some 70 residents were detained by the militants and more than 100 more were tied to streetlight poles for about 24 hours as a punishment.

Rutbah's mayor, Imad al-Rishawy, said that around 200 residents are still held by the Islamic State group at an unknown location and that the town is gripped by fears that they might be killed.

Demonstrating against the Islamic State group in areas under its control had been rare since the group seized much of northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014. The group has zero tolerance for noncompliance with its radical interpretation of Islam or cooperation with authorities in Baghdad, routinely handing down severe punishments like beheadings, burning offenders to death or, in less serious cases, flogging or placing offenders in cages placed at public squares.

In Baghdad on Monday, roadside bombs south and west of the Iraqi capital killed four people, including two policemen, and injured 12, according to police and hospital officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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Qassim Abdul-Zahra

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