The Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq burned 15 civilians to death, including children, after they were caught trying to escape from the so-called "land of the caliphate," a security source has told an Iraqi media outlet.
As IS continues to lose ground and suffer huge losses in its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul at the hands of Iraqi-led coalition liberation troops, the militants have been cracking down forcefully on residents fleeing from its various territories.
About two hours southeast of Mosul is the IS stronghold of Kirkuk, a town that members of three Iraqi families were recently caught fleeing from.
According to Iraqi News, an unnamed security source told the Iraqi satellite media outlet Alsumaria that the civilians were discovered on the roadside by IS and taken to the town of Hawija, about an hour west of Kirkuk, to be publicly executed.
"Daesh militants have burned to death 15 civilians belonging to three families from al-Shajarah village in Hawija," the source said.
The source explained that the victims were covered in tar and then lit on fire. The militants warned onlookers that they would face a similar fate if they tried to escape from the IS stronghold.
Iraqi News reports that IS barred the victims from leaving central Kirkuk and the surrounding areas of the Saladin province.
The execution of the three families comes after it was reported last month that the terrorist group executed another family who tried to flee from Kirkuk. That family, which consisted of four children and a mother, was also burned to death in Hawija.
The militants allegedly tied up the mother and her children and then covered their bodies with oil before lighting them on fire.
In addition to the report out of Kirkuk, IS jihadis in Mosul reportedly shelled five different schools in the Mosul area. The blasts killed at least three students and one teacher, Iraqi News reports.
"The Islamic State group shelled al-Zohour, al-Wehda, Tatwan, Mohamed al-Dorra and al-Naaniya schools with mortar shells, killing three students and a teacher, as well as wounding 18 students and six other teachers," Colonel Waad al-Sharifi was quoted as saying in a statement.
IS suffered a major setback after the Iraqi military killed at least 13 top IS leaders and 40 militants in an airstrike targeting a meeting between IS' Iraqi and Syrian leadership on Saturday.
It is believed that IS "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi attended the meeting. However, Baghdadi was not among the names of the IS leaders and militants killed in the strike in al-Qa'im.
On Monday, Iraqi military officials claimed they had wounded Badhdadi in the airstrike. However, United States officials and some Iraqi officials are skeptical of that claim.
"We don't have any information to corroborate it. Baghdadi is somebody we'd like to see meet his end, but we've not had any info to corroborate," Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis told ABC News.