Iraq said regained the initiative against fighters from the by ISIL
BAGHDAD: The United States has condemned a “horrifying” massacre by Islamic militants said to have killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers as they advanced on the capital after seizing vast swathes of northern Iraq.
Iraq said it had “regained the initiative” against fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, amid grisly reports of atrocities committed during the militants’ lightning offensive.
Photos posted online were said to show Sunni militants summarily executing dozens of captured members of the security forces, while tweets attributed to ISIL claimed they had killed 1,700 Shia soldiers.
“The claim by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that it has massacred 1,700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits in Tikrit is horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“While we cannot confirm these reports, one of the primary goals of ISIL is to set fear into the hearts of all Iraqis and drive sectarian division among its people.”
Psaki said the US would evacuate some of its staff and boost security at its embassy — America’s largest worldwide, and located in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone — due to “ongoing instability.”