Islamic State militants have been exacting harsh revenge against an Iraqi Sunni tribe that fought for months to keep the jihadists at bay, capturing and summarily executing scores of its members, tribal leaders and local officials said Thursday.
The death toll among the tribe, the Albu Nimr, remains unclear; one account put it at more than 200 based on mass grave sites, though that could not be independently verified. But the reports mesh with the Islamic State’s pattern of methodical slaughter as it has consolidated its territorial grabs in Syria and Iraq.
The killings also came amid meetings between Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Sunni tribal leaders to discuss how to enlist more tribes in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
American and Iraqi officials have said that it is vital to get more Iraqi Sunnis to cooperate with the government, after widespread hostility to the previous Shiite-led administration led many Sunnis to welcome the Islamic State’s advance in Iraq. But plans to formally incorporate Sunni tribes into the fight have been slow to develop, and many tribes that have resisted the Islamic State have faced brutal retribution from the militants.