(Reuters) – One night last week, Islamic State militants in an SUV with tinted windows pulled up at the home of a former Iraqi army officer, one of the men they see as an obstacle to their goal of establishing a caliphate from Iraq to the Mediterranean.
As the retired major-general was led away to the vehicle draped in the trademark black and white Islamist flag, his son and wife feared the worst.
“I have been asking the families of other officers and no one knows why they were taken,” his son said by phone, breaking down in tears.
In the past week, Sunni militants who overran the city of Mosul last month have rounded up between 25 and 60 senior ex-military officers and members of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s banned Baath party, residents and relatives say.
The crackdown potentially signals a rift in the Sunni alliance that helped secure Islamic State fighters swift victory when they rode in from the desert to capture Mosul last month.