Over the weekend, dozens of pictures trickled out on one of the official Twitter accounts of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, the jihadist group currently setting off a panic in vast swathes of northern Iraq. The graphic photographs, according to ISIS, showed mass executions of Shiite soldiers who had fought in the Iraqi government’s military and security forces. In the images, ISIS fighters corral hundreds of individuals into trucks, forcing them to lie down in shallow graves with their heads to the ground, and then shooting them with Kalashnikovs.
ISIS claimed it had killed more than 1,700 people, though the pictures account for a few hundred at most. Though shocking, this level of brutality is hardly new for the extremist Sunni group, as it has attempted to provoke the Shiite population going back to last decade, when the volatile Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was its leader.
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