The Islamic State group has released a new online video purporting to show the beheadings of three Kurdish peshmerga fighters, with a warning that it will execute "dozens more" prisoners unless the Kurds halt their bombing attacks against the extremists.
The Kurds, supported by a U.S.-led coalition and by Iran, are fighting the extremists in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish northern region and Syria. They have driven back the extremists in Ninevah and Kirkuk provinces.
The opening scenes of the six-minute video, released at the start of the Persian new year, show people allegedly injured by peshmerga rocket fire. Then, the focus shifts to three men clad in orange jumpsuits with their hands bound. Later, they appear individually, kneeling before being beheaded by Kurdish-speaking militants dressed in black.
"To the Muslim Kurdish people: Know that our war is not with you, rather it is with those who ventured into an alliance with the Safavids and crusaders to wage war on the Muslims," one militant says, using derogatory terms to refer to Iran and the coalition, according to the Reuters news agency.
Then, in a direct address to Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, another adds: "We warned you before that for every rocket you fire on those under the care of the Islamic State, you will kill one of your own prisoners with your own hands."
Earlier this week, Kurdish forces had struck at Islamic State inside Mosul, shelling there in retaliation for a militant attack on an Irbil market.
The video, which has not yet been authenticated, reportedly was shot in Ninevah province at the sites of bombing attacks against the Islamic State.
Last month, the Islamic State group had released a video it said showed at least a dozen peshmerga held in cages, Agence France-Presse reported.
More than 1,000 peshmerga have been killed while battling the Islamic State, Reuters said, noting that “several hundred Kurds” have joined forces with the extremists.
Material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.