Fears of reprisal attacks in areas retaken from Islamic State mount in Iraq

Azzaman, January 31, 2015

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has urged Iraqi troops and allied militias to refrain from reprisal attacks as they press ahead with operations to purge the provinces of Anbar and Diyala of Islamic State militants.

There are reports of Shiite militias killing Sunnis in the areas they recapture from the Islamic State.

The militias have been at the forefront of the fight against the Jihadist group which still occupies large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.

Abadi made the remarks in a conference on national dialogue and reconciliation held in Baghdad amid reports of scores of Sunni civilians who were killed in Diyala Province.

“We should not fall into the trap set up for us by Da’esh in the liberated areas,” Abadi said.

Da’esh is the Arabic for the Islamic State.

“We cannot allow the violation of the rights of others. Aggressors are outlaws and do not represent the army or the popular forces,” he said.

Popular forces is the term the government gives to the newly formed military formations composed mainly of Shiite volunteers.

Abadi has ordered an investigation into the reported killing of 70 Sunnis in villages Shiite militias retook from Islamic State militants in Diyala.