Propagandists for the Islamic State group released a video showing the group’s fighters incinerating, drowning and blowing up men accused of helping the United States and U.S. allies bomb its bases.
BEIRUT — Propagandists for the Islamic State group released a video Tuesday showing the group’s fighters incinerating, drowning and blowing up men accused of helping the United States and U.S. allies bomb its bases.
The video was one of the Islamic State’s most gruesome and appeared to suggest internal concern that civilians living in areas under the group’s control could be actively working against it.
The propagandists included a personal message in the video intended for a lieutenant in the Iraqi police force, Lt. Bassem Mohammed, who has been struggling for months to obtain salaries and arms for a group of former policemen wanting to fight the Islamic State jihadis in Ninevah province. Mosul, Ninevah’s provincial capital, is the largest city controlled by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
In a telephone call from northern Iraq on Tuesday, Mohammed said that he knew about half of the 16 prisoners seen being killed in the video and that he was related to many of them.
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“It was my father, my cousin, my uncle and others,” he said, adding that they had lived in Islamic State territory but had not acted against it.
“They are civilians, without exception,” he said. “If someone is not a civilian, he can’t live in their areas.”
The naming of Mohammed in the video and the killing of his relatives highlighted how the Islamic State group worked locally to undermine the morale of its enemies.
The video opens with scenes of fighters from the Islamic State group pulling the remains of dead civilians from piles of rubble while a narrator curses the U.S.-led coalition that is bombing the group in Syria and Iraq and the spies who help the coalition.
Then a series of prisoners dressed in red jumpsuits say they were recruited by Mohammed and others to spy on Islamic State group fighters, form groups to kill Islamic State leaders and to film its bases.
Interspersed are scenes depicting the execution of the prisoners.
One group is locked in a car that is set afire. They burned to death. Others are locked in a cage lowered into a swimming pool. They drowned. The final group, which included Mohammed’s father, were killed after explosives placed on them were detonated.
“It is the group’s most savage video to date,” said Hassan Hassan, co-author of the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.” “A lot of thinking went into it.”
While the video was particularly graphic, Hassan said public executions were common in areas under Islamic State group control.
“ISIS carries out brutal executions in a regular way as a constant reminder to local populations and to deter people from cooperating with its enemies,” he said.