June 27, 2018 / 3:09 PM / 5 months ago

Iraq finds bodies of security men kidnapped by Islamic State

BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces have found the bodies of eight men, two days after a deadline set by their Islamic State kidnappers expired, a local commander told Reuters on Wednesday.

The militants had kidnapped members of Iraq’s security forces and showed six of them in a video posted online on Saturday, threatening to kill them within three days if the government did not release female Sunni Arab prisoners.

The bodies were found mutilated and rigged with explosives, said Lieutenant General Muzher al-Azawi, Commander of Diyala Operations.

Security and medical sources said the bodies were taken to a hospital in Tuz Khurmato, a town south of the oil city of Kirkuk, where they were being prepared for burial.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over the hardline Sunni militants in December but the group still operates from pockets along the border with Syria and has continued to carry out ambushes, assassinations and bombings across Iraq.

There has been an uptick in attacks by the group in recent weeks, especially on a highway connecting the capital Baghdad with the country’s north where the men had been taken.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein in Baquba; additional reporting by Mustafa Mahmoud in Kirkuk; editing by Raya Jalabi and Janet Lawrence

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