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Wednesday 17th September 2014
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Iraq Warns Of 'Imminent Danger' Of IS Militants

Monday, 1st September 2014 11:42

Miltants from Islamic State pose a threat to every country in the world, Iraq was warned the United Nations.

The jihadist group - previously known as ISIS - has committed barbaric acts against civilians and threatens to break up Iraq in its aim of establishing a caliphate across a large swathe of the Middle East, Iraq's human rights minister told an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council.

The debate took place as Human Rights Watch (HRW)  released evidence of Islamic State (IS) fighters using widely-banned cluster munitions in Syria - where they are already in common use by President Bashar al Assad's forces.

Mohammed Shia al Sudani said: "The land of ancient Babylon is subjected to threats starting with its very independence, they are attempting to change its demographic and cultural composition.

"ISIS is not an Iraqi phenomenon, it is a transnational phenomenon that poses an imminent danger to all countries of the world, it defies all human rights principles and international law."

Iraq's appeal came after the first Islamic State suicide bomber captured in Iraq spoke to Sky News, warning that jihadists from around the world, including Britain, are flooding into Iraq and Syria to join the extremist cause.

Senior UN officials said there was evidence that both IS and Iraqi government forces have killed civilians and committed atrocities in three months of fighting.

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said there was "strong evidence" that IS fighters and linked groups had carried out targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, sexual abuse and torture.

She also said Iraqi police have executed detainees, while Iraqi soldiers have shelled towns and carried out airstrikes, killing and injuring many civilians.

Ms Pansieri voiced deep concern at the persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Shia, Turkmen and other ethnic groups by IS forces that have swept through western and northern Iraq since June, driving 1.2 million Iraqis from their homes.

She said: "The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale."

Violence in Iraq killed at least 1,420 people in August, with more than 1,370 injured during the month, the UN's Iraq mission said.

The one-day session in Geneva was called by Iraq with the support of allies including the United States.

The 47-member state forum is expected to agree to Baghdad's request to send a team of UN experts to investigate crimes committed by IS and others in the conflict.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish forces and Shia militiamen retook Sulaiman Bek from IS on Monday - regaining a key stronghold held by the extremists for more than 11 weeks.

Fighting to retake the village of Yankaja, also located in Salaheddin province, northeast of Baghdad, was ongoing, the official responsible for the nearby Tuz Khurmatu area said.

In Amerli, where Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters and Shia militiamen broke an 11-week siege over the weekend, outgoing PM Nouri al Maliki vowed that Iraq would be "a graveyard" for IS.

A clean-up was also under way in Ramadi - 70 miles (115km) west of Baghdad - after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-packed car into a police checkpoint, killing at least 14 people.

In Syria, New York-based group HRW said reports from local Kurdish officials and photographic evidence suggested IS had used cluster bombs on July 12 and August 14.

They were deployed in fighting around the town of Ayn al Arab in Aleppo province, near the border with Turkey, in clashes between the jihadist group and Kurdish fighters.

The group said it was believed to be the first time IS had used cluster bombs, but it was unclear how it had acquired them.

Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of small bomblets and can be fired in rockets or dropped from the air.

They spread explosives over large areas and are indiscriminate in nature, often continuing to maim and kill long after the initial attack when previously unexploded bomblets detonate.