BAGHDAD, Iraq - The al Qaeda spin-off that seized wide swaths of Iraq almost unopposed last month has released a video warning Iraqi soldiers who may still have some fight in them that they risk being rounded up en masse and executed. Iraq's army unraveled when the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) staged a lightning advance and later declared a medieval-style caliphate.
The 30-minute video clip, circulated during the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, shows ISIS militants standing over dozens of terrified, handcuffed Iraqi soldiers. One fighter mocks a soldier for wearing civilian clothes over his uniform out of fear of being identified and killed. He pleads for mercy, to no avail. Then dozens of soldiers are led to a sandy desert pit. They are executed one by one by the Sunni militants. The footage features night-vision sequences, then shows fighters moving into a city in flat-bed trucks, and U.S-made Humvees seized during their surge through the north last month. ISIS convoys filmed include small tanks and heavy machine guns transported on trailers. The sudden rise of ISIS has worsened Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions in Iraq, raising fears that the country will relapse into the dark days of civil war that peaked in 2006-2007.
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