In the wake of news that Islamic State (IS) gunmen had massacred hundreds of Sunni Arabs from the Albu Nimr tribe in Iraq's Anbar province, the chairman of Anbar's Provincial Council said that the extremist group's crimes against local tribespeople were not a new phenomenon.
Iraqi officials on November 2 increased the number of tribespeople killed by IS militants north of Ramadi to 322. The officials said that women and children were among those killed, and that bodies of dozens of victims were dumped in a well. Previous reports said IS had executed 50 members of the Albu Nimr tribe.
An RFE/RL correspondent in the region reported on November 2 that one of the tribal leaders, Sheikh Na'eem Gu'ood, had said that 62 members of the tribe had been executed, most of them displaced persons from the central Euphrates region. Around 275 members of the tribe were reported missing, Gu'ood told RFE/RL.
Provincial council chairman Karhut said that security forces have launched a large-scale operation to attempt to find the missing tribespeople.
According to Karhut, IS militants had committed previous atrocities against the Albu Nimr tribe, and had displaced large numbers of tribespeople from the Hit area toward the desert -- without food or water.
Karhut said that members of the tribe were being trained in preparation for their dispatch with the security forces for a large-scale military operation against IS militants in the area.
Karhut -- who has previously called on the United States to carry out a ground operation in Anbar -- has complained previously that the Iraqi government was dragging its feet over taking measures to prevent IS militants from overrunning Anbar.
Karhut told Al-Monitor on October 16 that, "The tribes as well as the security and military forces in Anbar were not given the right munitions and aid, despite continuous demands raised by tribes and the local government to provide support for the cities of Anbar, which resisted IS for over 10 months."
The Anbar Provincial Council chairman also told Al-Monitor that the Iraqi government had not provided sufficient assistance to local tribes to help them prevent IS gunmen from besieging dozens of villages along the Euphrates River.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk