IS threatens to execute 6 Iraqis unless women prisoners freed

Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group in December, detaining hundreds of women and children suspected of association with the jihadist group

Baghdad (AFP) – The Islamic State group on Saturday threatened to execute within three days six Iraqi men it said it is holding, unless authorities in Baghdad release Sunni Muslim female prisoners.

The threat came in a video released by the jihadists’ Amaq propaganda agency, showing six men, their faces covered in bruises.

IS said the men were abducted members of the Iraqi police and the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force, which played a key role in Iraq’s war against the jihadists.

Iraq declared victory over IS in December after expelling the jihadists from all urban centres following a vast military campaign.

It has detained hundreds of women and children identified as jihadists or related to suspected IS fighters and has put many on trial.

More than 300 people — including some 100 foreign women — have been sentenced to death in Iraq for joining IS, while similar numbers have been handed life terms, judicial sources say.

Most of the convicted women are Turkish or from the former Soviet republics.