HAWIJA, Iraq — The Islamic group ISIS, which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has released photographs of eight deceased persons suspended from the entrance to an Iraqi city, months after an image surfaced online of a child parading a severed head through the streets, demonstrating the ongoing barbarity of the Muslim jihadist group.
The gruesome photographs are believed to be from the city of Hawija, and show the men hanging upside down from a metal structure at the entrance of the city. An Islamic State flag is displayed on the top of the structure, under which a number of vehicles appear to be driving in and out of the city, as several onlookers gather to observe the spectacle.
While it is not known who the eight persons are who were killed and hung upside down, some of them appear to be wearing fatigues and therefore may be members of the Iraqi military.
ISIS fighter Abu Al-Rahman is seen posing in one of the photographs in front of a dead body, and holding up his index finger, which according to the Council on Foreign Relations, refers back to the tawhid and the Islamic belief that “[t]here is no god but Allah [and] Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The incident, occurring in a largely Sunni Muslim city, is believed to be the same location where a number of captives dressed in orange jumpsuits were paraded through the streets in cages last month. The cages had been loaded on to the backs of trucks, and crowds gathered as the vehicles passed to taunt and mock those that had been captured. ISIS fighters stood next to the cages, some holding ISIS flags or armed with weaponry.
Reports state that ISIS is likely seeking to make Hawija its new operational base.
But not only are this week’s photographs of deceased inverted captives causing much horror online, but also a photo released last summer by ISIS that shows a child holding an adult severed head. A number of youth are surrounding the boy, and one adult male appears to be holding a cell phone to record the child as he marches through the street with the head.
“This is how the cubs of the Caliphate are raised up,” the text that accompanied the photograph read.
The photograph is not the first demonstrating children holding severed heads. Additionally, as previously reported, a video released late last month showed terrorist organization training children as young a five years old to fight for Allah.
The nine-minute video shows young boys wearing fatigues and black bandanas with the ISIS ignsignia lined up in rows for their training. They mimick exercises performed by the instructor and chant back responses, including “Allah Ahkbar”, meaning “Allah is the greatest.”
According to reports, the video was filmed at the Al Farouq Institute for Cubs in Raqqa, Syria, and is stated to represent the “next generation” of ISIS fighters. In addition to performing exercises, children recite verses from the Koran and bow to the ground in prayer with their instructor, who sits adjacent to a pair of guns.