The Islamic State group currently ravaging Iraq and Syria has shocked the world again with its horrific execution videos – this time by allegedly throwing blindfolded men off a roof as punishment for their sexual orientation.
Images of the execution surfaced two days ago on jihadist websites, and claimed the men were found "convicted" of homosexual acts. The group's radical interpretation of Islamic law, "engaging in homosexual activities" is a capital crime.
One of the images shows a large crowd gathering at the bottom of a large tower to witness the execution of two men. The masked Islamic State executioner details their crimes, declares them guilty of homosexuality and sentences them to death.
Yazids go free
Meanwhile, the group freed around 350 members of Iraq's Yazidi minority on Saturday, delivering them to safety in the country's Kurdish north.
Almost all those released were elderly, disabled, or unwell, and included several infants with serious illnesses, according to a Reuters reporter who saw them arrive in the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk.
Islamic State militants attacked Yazidis in northwest Iraq last summer, killing or capturing and enslaving thousands of the minority group.
Those who could fled to the autonomous Kurdistan region, where many are living in camps along with other religious and ethnic minorities as well as Sunni Muslims displaced by the Islamist militants.
One of the freed Yazidis, who was in his 70s, said Islamic State fighters had ordered them to get into buses on Saturday, and they feared they were going to be executed.
Instead, they were driven to the Islamic State-controlled Shirqat area, where they spent the night, and from there to Hawija at the southwestern entrance of Kirkuk.
Kurdish peshmerga forces drove back Islamic State militants in northwestern Iraq last month, breaking a long siege of Sinjar mountain where thousands of Yazidis had been stranded for months. But many Yazidi villages remain under IS control.
Reuters contributed to this report