Islamic State 'executes 70 Sunni tribesmen in Iraq'

image copyrightReuters
image captionSunni tribesman have been battling Islamic State alongside Iraqi security forces

Seventy members of a Sunni Arab tribe opposed to Islamic State (IS) have been killed by the jihadist group in western Iraq, a tribal elder says.

Sheikh Naeem al-Gaoud told the BBC that members of the Al Bu Nimr tribe were shot dead in the village of Khanizir, in Anbar province, on Sunday night.

He said the tribesmen were killed because they had relatives serving in the Iraqi security forces.

The Al Bu Nimr have played an important role in battling jihadists for years.

In 2014, IS militants killed more than 500 members of the tribe, but its leaders vowed to fight on.

The tribe, which is believed to include more than half a million people, confronted IS after it seized control of swathes of western and northern Iraq that June.

Members of the tribe also helped the US military counter al-Qaeda in Iraq, a precursor to IS, during the so-called "Sunni Awakening" in 2006 and 2007.

Sheikh Gaoud said the men targeted on Sunday had fled to Khanizir with their families from the homes in the al-Furat district of Ramadi after IS captured Anbar's provincial capital last May.