Iraqi prisoners who were rescued on 22 October from an Islamic State (Isis) jail by US and Kurdish troops reveal the brutal tortures they endured and the executions they witnessed in a new video by the Kurdistan Region Security Council. At the time of the rescue, the Pentagon said it was believed that the group was about to face an "imminent mass execution" at the hands of the terrorist organisation.
The 15 minute video begins by showing footage of the dramatic rescue that led to the arrest of six IS militants and the deaths of over 20 more. It then introduces Mohammed Hassan Abdullah, a member of the Police Directorate in Hawija, who said: "They tortured us in various ways, including electric shocks and plastic bags until loss of consciousness. Then more electric shocks were used." He added that the prisoners were treated inhumanely by their IS captors.
According to Abdullah, the militants would "execute about two or three or four hostages everyday". A fellow prisoner added that their captors would interrogate them, asking what organisation they came from, during their tortures. "Torture would continue unless there was a confession. A confession, however, meant execution. We oppose their killing and torture," said Ahmad Mahmud Mustafa, who was arrested by the jihadis on five separate occasions.
Saad Khelef Ali Feraj, also with the Police Directorate in Hawija, recounted how he was repeatedly tortured and how his brother was murdered by his captors. "My brother, who was an officer, was taken and beheaded. They gave me only his head, without his body. I buried his head," he said. As Feraj continues to describe his rescue, he and several of his fellow prisoners break down crying.
Prior to their rescue, the group of 69 prisoners were told they would be executed the following day. They were given the evening to write final letters to their relatives, Feraj explained. "It was 1.30am, I was writing a letter to give to any prisoner to give to my family. At exactly 2am Counter Terrorism forces of Kurdistan Region and US Special Forces arrived and rescued us from Isis," he said.
The raid on the IS stronghold of Hawija also led to the first American soldier being killing fighting on the ground against IS. Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, a 39-year-old member of the US Army's secret Delta Force unit, died during the raid.