BAGHDAD – Islamic State militants moved on Saturday to stamp out dissent in a remote western Iraqi town, detaining at least 70 and tying dozens of residents, including tribal leaders, to streetlight poles as a punishment, security officials said.
The crackdown followed a rare street demonstration on Saturday to protest the extremist group's execution of a local resident, they said. The protest by hundreds of residents in Rutbah, in Anbar province, was triggered by the execution earlier on Saturday of Munir al-Kobeisi, a civil servant, for killing an IS member. The killing was part of a long-running blood feud between two local clans.
Eid Amash, a spokesman for Anbar's provincial government, confirmed al-Kobeisi's execution and the subsequent protest.
Relying on sketchy information from Rutbah, in Iraq's far west near the Jordanian border, the officials said they didn't know the whereabouts of the detained residents. The militants, they said, tied two residents to each light pole and that the town was gripped by fears that the group would carry out mass executions.
Elsewhere in Anbar, much of which is under IS control, a roadside bomb on Saturday hit a border guard convoy making its way to the border crossing of Trebil on the Jordanian border, security officials said.
Five officers were killed in the attack — which bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, whose militants are active in the area near the Jordanian and Syrian borders.
The officials also said a pair of roadside bombs killed five people and injured 19 south and west of Baghdad on Saturday. Also in the capital, assailants using pistols fitted with silencers killed two people in the Jihad neighborhood in western Baghdad before they fled in a car.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.