ISIS 'Hell of the Apostates' Video Shows Mass Grave Executions

ISIS executions
ISIS fighters carrying out executions of prisoners in Iraq in 'Hell of the Apostates' video, shared in September, 2016. |

The Islamic State terror group has carried out a new series of mass executions of prisoners it considers traitors in a video released on Tuesday in Iraq, dubbed "Hell of the Apostates."

Heavy reported that the video was shot somewhere near Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and like past IS videos shows scenes of graphic and horrific violence, mixed in with propaganda messages against Western leaders, such as President Barack Obama.

Parts of the video show armed IS fighters leading groups of blindfolded men to pre-dug graves, where they are executed by being shot in the head one by one.

Other segments depict intense fighting between IS jihadis and opposition forces. The radical group has been trying to keep hold of its captured territory across Iraq and Syria, but has faced heavy opposition in the form of U.S.-led airstrikes, and ground troops from regional forces.

The people executed by IS in the latest video are referred to as "sahwat," people who received assistance from the U.S. in the fight against IS' predecessor organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq.

IS accuses such people of "stabbing it in the back" for taking U.S. assistance and combating Islamic extremism, and has sought to punish and make an example out of them.

Heavy reports that the identities or allegiances of those executed is so far unclear.

The Associates Press and other news outlets have documented dozens of mass graves across Iraq and Syria that have been uncovered, showing that IS fighters have slaughtered thousands of people in their two-year reign of terror.

A big discovery in August identified at least 72 mass graves across newly liberated territory, revealing that many more graves containing great human rights atrocities likely lie within land still held by the jihadist group.

"There's been virtually no effort to systematically document the crimes perpetrated, to preserve the evidence, and to ensure that mass graves are identified and protected," warned Naomi Kikoler of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

IS has targeted Christians, Yazidis, and people from several other minority groups that it deems as enemies, which both the U.S. and the U.N. have recognized as an ongoing genocide.

Ziad Awad, the editor of an online publication on Deir el-Zour called The Eye of the City, who is documenting the graves, added: "This is a drop in an ocean of mass graves expected to be discovered in the future in Syria."

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