Militants Claim Mass Execution of Iraqi Soldiers
By ROD NORDLAND and ALISSA J. RUBINJUNE 15, 2014
BAGHDAD — Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria boasted on Twitter that they had executed 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers, posting gruesome photos to support their claim.
The authenticity of the photographs and the insurgents’ claim could not be verified, and Iraqi government officials initially cast doubt on whether such a mass execution took place. There were also no reports of large numbers of funerals in the Salahuddin Province area, where the executions were said to have been conducted.
If the claim is true, it would be the worst mass atrocity in either Syria or Iraq in recent years, surpassing even the chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian suburbs of Damascus last year, which killed 1,400 people and were attributed to the Syrian government.
Cars carrying people who fled Mosul lined up at a checkpoint on the road to Erbil in northern Iraq on Saturday.
The latest attack, if proved, would also raise the specter of the war in Iraq turning genocidal, particularly because the insurgents boasted that their victims were all Shiites. There were also fears that it could usher in a series of reprisal killings of Shiites and Sunnis, like those seen in the Iraq war in 2005-7.