5,500 Iraqis Killed Since Islamic State Began Its Military Drive, U.N. Says
By NICK CUMMING-BRUCEOCT. 2, 2014
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GENEVA - More than 5,500 people have been killed in Iraq since an offensive by the Islamic State militant group began in June, the United Nations reported on Thursday, including hundreds of minority Yazidis slaughtered en masse. The report takes particular note of the extremists' campaign of physical and sexual violence against women and children, with accounts of women being captured and sold as sex slaves to Islamic State recruits, and children being used as soldiers.
Those deaths represent more than half of the 9,343 civilians killed in Iraq from January through September, the United Nations said in a report by its Iraq mission and its Geneva human rights office, emphasizing that its figures were "absolute minimums."
The total casualty count for the year so far, including wounded, is at least 26,000.
"This report is terrifying," Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special representative for Iraq, said in a statement.
The accounts of atrocities were not limited to the Islamic State, a Sunni militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. Iraqi government security forces and militias associated with them have also committed "gross violations" of international law, abducting civilians and hanging their bodies from lampposts in Baquba, summarily killing captured Islamic State fighters and launching airstrikes that resulted in "significant" civilian deaths and injuries, according to the report.
The aftermath of a bombing that killed 14 people and wounded at least 43 on Thursday in Baghdad.CreditAhmad Al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images
But as the Islamic State seeks to expand its control of parts of northern Iraq, its campaign...