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Rights Group: Iraqi Militias Used Foreign-Supplied Weapons to Commit War Crimes

FILE - Iraqi fighters from Hashid Shaabi take part in a training at Makhmur camp in Iraq, Dec. 11, 2016.

An Amnesty International report released Thursday said militias allied with Iraqi troops are committing war crimes with arms provided to the Iraqi military by at least 16 countries, including the U.S., Russia and Iran.

The rights group said the predominately Shi'ite Muslim militias are collectively known as the Hashid Shaabi. Amnesty said they committed war crimes such as arbitrary killings and torture, using weapons from Iraqi military stockpiles, the group said.

"International arms suppliers, including the USA, European countries, Russia and Iran, must wake up to the fact that all arms transfers to Iraq carry a real risk of ending up in the hands of militia groups with long histories of human rights violations," said Amnesty researcher Patrick Wilcken in a statement.

Call for strict controls

Wilcken added that countries that want to sell weapons to Iraq should first impose strict measures to ensure the militias can not use the arms to violate human rights.

Amnesty said its findings are based on nearly 2-1/2 years of field research and analysis of photos and videos. The group also conducted interviews with dozens of former detainees, witnesses and relatives of those killed or missing.

A spokesman for the Hashid Shaabi did not immediately respond to requests for comment.