ISIS fighters may have captured up to 3,000 fleeing Iraqi villagers on Thursday and subsequently executed 12 of them, according to the U.N. refugee agency.




The the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugee said it had received reports of the alleged incident.


It followed a statement on Thursday from the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, which said about 1,900 civilians had been captured by an estimated 100-120 ISIS fighters. They were said to be using people as shields against attacks by Iraqi security forces.


“UNHCR has received reports that [ISIS] captured on 4 August up to 3,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) from villages in Hawija District in Kirkuk Governorate trying to flee to Kirkuk city. Reportedly, 12 of the IDPs have been killed in captivity,” the UNHCR report said.


UNHCR officials in Geneva and Baghdad told The Associated Press on Friday they were still trying to verify the information and wouldn’t comment on the source of the reports.