Sheik Naim al-Gaood, the leader of the Albu Nimr tribe in Iraq's restive Anbar province, announced on Monday that the so-called Islamic State (IS) executed 70 people from his clan.
Speaking to Iraq's al-Shafaq news, al-Gaood said IS militants abducted his tribesman from the Thar Thar area just north of the contested city of Ramadi and killed them nearby on Sunday. It's not the first time that IS has targeted the Albu Nimr tribe. At least 200 tribesman were reportedly executed in October 2014 near the city of Hit, also in Anbar province. The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights later said 322 people died in the massacre.
The Albu Nimr tribe has been a longstanding opponent of IS in Anbar, Iraq's largest province, which is located west of Baghdad and borders Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The clan was previously part of the "Awakening Councils," a Sunni militia that was formed to fight IS's predecessor al Qaeda in Iraq, and was a critical component of the US military's "surge" in 2007.
Since the takeover of Anbar by militant forces in January 2014, the Albu Nimr tribe, along with other tribes affiliated with the Iraqi government, have been left increasingly vulnerable from reprisal attacks. Al-Gaood called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abad, to protect his people from IS and liberate Anbar province in order to prevent another mass execution.
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The killings in Anbar came on the heels of another bloody day in Iraq that saw a series of car bombs detonate nationwide, killing 56 people and wounding dozens more. The blasts occurred in predominantly Shia areas, and targeted markets, commercial areas, and residential neighborhoods in order to maximize civilian casualties, a hallmark of IS.
One of the car bombs detonated in the oil-rich province of Basra, which sits on Iraq's southern border with Iran and is home to the oil and gas concessions currently being developed by Shell, Exxon, and BP.
According to the United Nations Mission in Iraq, an estimated 17,013 people have already been killed and wounded in the country since the start of 2015.
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