ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State militants on Friday killed three brothers after kidnapping them in the north of Salahuddin Province, a local security source has confirmed.
The three brothers were abducted three days ago while reportedly picking truffles on Makhoul Mountain, not far from the village of Mishak, from where the young men came.
The security source told Kurdistan 24 that members of the jihadist group took the three young men on Wednesday but called their relatives on Friday morning claiming they had been released.
“It looks like it was a trick to deceive the family… so that the security forces would not go looking there, allowing the jihadists to hide,” the source said.
The security forces later found the bodies lying on the ground near the mountain, where the Islamic State remains active.
The victims were handcuffed, according to another source, adding two of the brothers were university graduates while the third was a middle school student.
The victims were reportedly shot dead.
The brothers left for the mountain by car to look for truffles but stopped to rest in a remote area before they were attacked by the jihadist group, a family member said.
Locals in the provinces of Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Anbar, and Nineveh have repeatedly warned Iraqi military officials of growing activity by Islamic State militants in the area.
The jihadist group uses the mountainous areas as a base and hiding spot, making it challenging for security forces and the US-led coalition to find or track them.
Over the past year, they have carried out insurgency attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes in the country despite Iraq declaring victory against the Islamic State in Dec. 2017.
Editing by Nadia Riva