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Jihadists ‘massacre’ villagers in Iraq, thousands flee areas, Dozens of civilians were killed, most of them followers of the Yazidi faith, Residents: Airstrikes near militant-held Iraq dam

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Irbil (Iraq): Residents living near Iraq’s Mosul dam, held by the Islamic State group, say the area is being targeting in air strikes. The residents say the air strikes hit on Saturday afternoon. They spoke on condition of anonymity out of fears for their safety. The Islamic State group seized the dam on the Tigris River on August 7 as part of their offensive that’s seized large swaths of Iraq.
The residents near the dam say the air strikes killed militants, but that could not be immediately confirmed. Iraqi officials said today that survivors of an Islamic State group attack on a northern village told them the militants killed over 80 Yazidi men there, warning that the minority group remains in danger. The officials, a Yazidi lawmaker and an official with Kurdish security forces, said that the attack happened yesterday afternoon in the village of Kocho. Both said they based their information on the accounts of survivors.
Kocho is in an area held by the Islamic State group where journalists cannot operate. Islamic State group fighters besieged the village for several days and gave its Yazidi residents a deadline to convert to Islam, Yazidi lawmaker Mahma Khalil said. “When the residents refused to do this, the massacre took place,” Khalil said.
Baghdad: Details emerged of a ‘massacre’ carried out by jihadists in a northern Iraq village on Saturday, as world powers ramped up efforts to cut their funding, arm Kurds battling them and assist those they displaced.

Dozens of civilians were killed, most of them followers of the Yazidi faith, officials said as the Islamic State group fighters pressed their offensive against minority groups in the north.

Militants entered the village of Kocho yesterday and “committed a massacre,” senior Iraqi official Hoshyar Zebari told AFP, citing sources from the region and intelligence reports. “Around 80 of them have been killed,” he said.

A senior official of one of Iraq’s main Kurdish parties said 81 people had lost their lives, while a Yazidi activist said the death toll could be even higher.

The village lies near the northwestern town of Sinjar, which the jihadists stormed on August 3 sending tens of thousands of civilians, many of them Yazidi Kurds, fleeing into the mountains to the its north. They hid there for days with little food or water. Fear of an impending genocide against the Yazidi minority, whose faith is anathema to the Sunni Muslim extremists, was one of the reasons Washington cited for air strikes it began on August 8.

US President Barack Obama declared the Mount Sinjar siege over on Thursday but vulnerable civilians remain in areas taken by the jihadists, including Yazidi Kurds. In Kocho, Zebari said the jihadists “took their revenge on its inhabitants, who happened to be mostly Yazidis who did not flee their homes.”
 
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