IS Captures 3,000 Iraqi Villagers, Says UN

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Islamic State fighters have captured up to 3,000
Iraqi villagers trying to flee to the city of Kirkuk,
according to the United Nations refugee agency.
The UNHCR says they were from Hawiga District
and 12 were killed by the jihadist group.
It followed a statement on Thursday from the Iraqi
Observatory for Human rights, which claimed 1,900
civilians had been captured by more than 100 IS
fighters.
They were using the people as human shields
against attacks by Iraqi Security Forces, the
statement said, adding tens of civilians had been
executed, and six burnt.
The UNHCR said it had “received reports that ISIL
captured on 4 August up to 3,000 IDPs (internally
displaced people) from villages in Hawiga District
in Kirkuk Governorate, trying to flee to Kirkuk city.
“Reportedly, 12 of the IDPs have been killed in
captivity.”

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Millions of people have been displaced since IS
took control of large areas of Iraq and neighbouring
Syria in 2014.

The United States has been leading a military
coalition carrying out airstrikes against IS, and the
group’s grip on some towns has been broken.
But it still controls Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in
Syria.
The UN has appealed for more than £200m to
prepare aid in the event of an assault on Mosul, as
well as up to £1.5bn to deal with the aftermath.
So far it has received nothing, according to the UN
Financial Tracking Service.
UNHCR has begun building a site near Mosul for
6,000 people, and is preparing another for 15,000,
but that will help a fraction of those expected to
need shelter.

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President Obama says Islamic State continues to
be a threat to the US
despite losing significant ground in Iraq and Syria.
He warned that while it has been ousted from
more areas in the Middle East, it was shifting its
focus to attacks abroad.
Tens of thousands who fled from the Iraqi city of
Fallujah have still not returned since its recapture
from Islamic State in June.
UNHCR said three volunteers who were helping to
clear Fallujah of rubble and explosives died while
clearing a house earlier this month.
“Although local authorities have suggested that
returns to Fallujah could begin in September, the
Ministry of Migration and Displacement has stated
that it may take another three months before
conditions are conducive for large scale returns,” it
said.
The Iraqi authorities have said 300,000 displaced
people had returned to Ramadi district, said
UNHCR.
Iraqi forces declared victory over the jihadist group
in Ramadi in December, but later called a halt to
returns after dozens of civilians were killed by
mines.

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