Islamic State militants have kidnapped 17 women in southwestern Kirkuk, anti-IS popular militias said on Saturday.
Hassan al-Soufi, a senior commander at al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) said the women were kidnapped due to an attempt to flee a region held by the extremist group in al-Zab region (55 km southwest of the province) towards Salahuddin’s town of Shirqat. “Those elements herded the kidnapped women to central Hawija”, Soufi revealed.
The group accused the women of “abandoning the land of the caliphate and collaborating for the smuggling of civilians towards Kirkuk and Salahuddin provinces,” according to Soufi.
Islamic State has held regions southwest of Kirkuk, along with several other Iraqi cities, since it emerged in 2014 to establish a so-called “Islamic State”. The group has, since then, both enslaved women and imposed extreme religious rules on them. Many were also reportedly drafted to fight by the group’s side . News about the group targeting and killing many civilians fleeing its areas of control have been recurrent since Iraqi forces launched offensives to drive Islamic State out of the country.
Kirkuk and other few Islamic State pockets are still awaiting official orders for security intervention against the group, but the government is giving full focus to its campaign in Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq where security forces have so far recaptured a half of territories.
Source: /Iraqi News