Islamic State militants have reportedly burned 45 people alive in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, according to the local police chief who reported the latest ISIS atrocity.
Precisely who the people were, and why they were killed in this brutal fashion is not yet clear, although Col Qasim al-Obeidi said he believed some were members of the Iraqi security forces, therefore technically, not “innocent civilians.”
Having captured most of the strategically important town, near to the Ain al-Asad air base, last week, ISIS militants also captured a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials.
The reported burning alive of 45 people in Iraq seems to signify a new trend in Middle-Age style ISIS barbarity after it published a video earlier this month showing the burning to death of a captured Jordanian pilot in a metal cage, a video that shocked and outraged the world.
The town of Al-Baghdadi had been besieged for months by ISIS before it finally fell into their hands on Thursday. It was one of the few towns to still be controlled by the Iraqi government in the Anbar province.
Rear Adm John Kirby from the Pentagon told reporters on Friday that al-Baghdadi’s capture needed to be put in perspective. According to him, it was the first time in the last couple of months that ISIS had taken new ground, as it has been taking a pounding from allied air strikes over the last few weeks.
The worrying thing for the local community, as well as the 320 US Marines stationed at the Ain al-Asad air base, is that ISIS will reach them and that would not bode well for their future security.
What will happen now that Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi has fallen to ISIS is unclear as the West and its allies try to find the right strategy to defeat and demolish ISIS once and for all.