The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has released a new graphic video showing an execution of four Shiite “spies” being burned alive, allegedly in Anbar, Iraq’s largest province.
In the video, the four men, apparently from a militia in Iraq known as the popular resistance forces, are shown “confessing” individually to the camera.
They introduce themselves to the camera, giving their names and a brief description of their role in combating ISIS.
The alleged “spies” are then chained upside down — hanged by their wrists and ankles to a metal frame — before a fire is set, to a trail of fuel beneath them, that eventually engulfs them in flames burning them to death.
A line of fuel appears to have been poured underneath the men and slight patches of straw were added to ignite the fire.
In slow motion, the video footage shows as the fire begins to burn up the line of fuel, rapidly heading towards the men.
The men are agonizingly burnt to death by the fire in the final seconds of the footage, which are too graphic to publish.
A masked ISIS fighter used a large torch to set them ablaze, and the four men are forced to watch as the flame licks towards them.
As in other propaganda execution videos, the men are forced to wear orange jumpsuits.
ISIS’ media arm released the video Monday, claiming to have filmed it in Anbar province. The video is entitled by the jihadist group with a line from the Koran, roughly translated as “Punish them with the same harm they have caused you.”
The Independent quoted experts saying the footage came in direct response to videos disseminated by Shiite jihadists, showing similar barbarity.
“Last week, a video circulated on social media showed the Shia militia leader Abu Azrael torturing and killing a Sunni fighter, accused of ISIS allegiance, by burning him alive over an open pit,” notes the U.K. news outlet.
“While it was impossible to independently verify the authenticity of Monday’s video, experts said that in the Iraqi context it appeared to be ‘an act of vengeance,’” it adds.
Prior to their deaths, the prisoners are made to watch several videos reportedly showing the mutilation of the bodies of dead ISIS fighters by members of the Iraqi army and allied Shi’a militias.
The new video was unlike other ISIS films designed to “terrorize a global audience and attract fanatics,” Dr. Andreas Krieg, an expert on the Middle East from King’s College’s Department of Defense Studies, told The Independent.
Iran-backed Shiite militias employed by the Iraqi government have been committing atrocities “of the same scale as ISIS” since 2003, he also said, adding, “ISIS wants to show its most important military and ideological enemy, namely the [Shiite] militias, that none of their atrocities will go unpunished.”
“It wants to send the message that they are not impressed by [Shiite] cruelties and that despite the Iraqi government’s determination, ISIS can act with impunity,” noted Dr. Krieg.
ISIS uses some of the videos purportedly showing its members being brutalized by Shiite militias as “evidence of a war against them waged by Shia Muslims and Iran,” Charlie Winter, an expert at the anti-extremist think tank Quilliam, told The Independent.
“These videos are rare, so of course ISIS is going to seize it as an opportunity. They see it as a justification for their war, for the punishments they themselves use, and of course it gets publicity as well,” he added.
ISIS has killed at least 3,156 people in Syria alone, including 1,841 civilians, since it declared the formation of its so-called “Caliphate” 14 months ago on June 29, 2014, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which uses sources on the ground to monitor the Syrian conflict.
Among those killed are 236 rebels and fellow jihadists and 182 members of its own group.