BAGHDAD - Militants from ISIS have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi ethnic minority during their offensive in the north, Iraq's human rights minister told Reuters on Sunday. Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the Sunni militants had also buried alive some of their victims, including women and children. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he added. "We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic States have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar," Sudani said in a telephone interview. NBC News could not immediately independently confirm his remarks.
The minister's comments could pile pressure on the United States - which has carried out air strikes on ISIS targets in response to the group's latest push through the north - to provide more extensive support. "In some of the images we have obtained there are lines of dead Yazidis who have been shot in the head while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses," said Sudani. "This is a vicious atrocity."
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