ISIS Reportedly Kidnaps 170 Men in Iraq After Local Residents Burn Flags

Militants assured local residents they would only punish those responsible.

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An undated file photo posted on a militant website on Fri., Sept. 19, 2014, shows Islamic State group policemen standing guard in front of a police station in Nineveh province, Iraq.
ISIS members stand guard in front of a police station in Iraq, September 19, 2014.Credit: AP

Islamic State militants kidnapped 170 men from two villages in Iraq's Kirkuk province on Friday after two of the group's flags were burned in the area, AFP reported.

According to the report, a resident of one of the villages, Gharib, said members of Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) were searching for 15 men who burned the ISIS flag, and captured around 90 people from the village.

A resident of Al-Shajara, the other village, said local women pleaded with the militants not to harm the captured men. The fighters reportedly assured the women they were merely investigating the flag-burning, and would only punish those responsible.

Thirty vehicles reportedly brought the kidnapped men from the two villages to the nearby town of Hawijah, where the group has both a courthouse and a prison.

Since ISIS captured much of the northern Iraq province in June, it has utilized mass detentions to subdue opposition.

In September 2014, nearly 70 people were arrested after local residents burned an ISIS flag and allegedly formed a resistance group. While some of those arrested have been released, others have been executed, often in brutal, publicized fashion.

More than 17,000 civilians died in 2014, making it the bloodiest year since sectarian bloodshed plagued Iraq in 2006-2007. ISIS has additionally killed nearly 2,000 people in Syria since June 2014, the majority of them civilians.

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