Nearly two years ago an extreme offshoot of al-Qaeda proclaimed itself a caliphate in the Middle East. Today ISIS has been condemned worldwide for its commission of brutal crimes against humanity, including beheadings and other horrific acts of violence as well as its unlawful seizure and destruction of public and private property in Iraq, Syria and beyond.
President Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress have declared their dedication to fighting ISIS until the group is degraded and destroyed.
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As the U.S. and its coalition pummel ISIS from the air and through local ground forces, the well-financed terror group has stooped to new lows. By no means a complete list, here are some of their most horrific actions to date.
1: They slaughter children.
In January ISIS executed 13 teenage boys in Mosul because they were watching a soccer match on TV. ISIS used machine guns in the public execution of the children. The boys’ families were unable to claim the bodies out of fear for their own lives.
2: They kill gay men by hurling them off buildings.
ISIS militants threw two men off a tower in Mosul in January because the men took part in “homosexual activities.” A month ago, ISIS flung a man from the top of a seven-story building in Tal Abyad in Raqqa for the same reason. The man survived but was stoned to death. Earlier this month, ISIS jihadists threw a young gay man off a building as a bloodthirsty crowd gawked.
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3: They murder Shiites who pray in mosques.
On Friday, ISIS claimed credit for up to four suicide bombings that killed more than 100 Shiites in Yemen at two mosques and wounded hundreds more. The killings occurred during midday prayers in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Casualty figures grew by the minute: The rebel-owned TV channel Al-Masirah reported the number of dead at 137 and the injured at 345.
4: They execute their own soldiers.
ISIS killed up to 200 members of its own group between June 2014 and December 2014, the British-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reported. The reason? The men had second thoughts about joining and had tried returning home. ISIS has killed others they deemed “ineffective” in battle. Last week ISIS executed 18 of its own fighters in northern Iraq because the men were texting the Kurdish army about surrendering.
5: They kidnap women and sell them as sex slaves or force them to marry ISIS fighters.
Last year ISIS members captured Kurdish women and girls from Iraq’s minority Yazidi community and sold them to sex traffickers in the Middle East. The price range was $500 to $43,000 per woman. Other captured women have been forced to marry ISIS members or act as their sex slaves. An Amnesty International report last year said ISIS tortured and raped many of these captives – leading some to take their own lives.
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6: They burn pilots in cages.
In early January ISIS burned alive a captured Jordanian pilot by locking him in a cage, dousing him with an inflammable liquid and setting him afire – videotaping the evil deed for the world to see, just as they have many of their most horrific acts.
7: They traffic in black market organs.
Using surgeons imported from other countries, ISIS harvests and sells human organs to exploit the lucrative international black market. They take organs from their own deceased fighters as well as from their living captives and hostages – including from children in the minority communities of Syria and Iraq – selling hearts, livers and kidneys to line ISIS coffers.
8: They recruit child soldiers.
ISIS recruits or kidnaps children as young as six years old from Iraq, sends them to militant training camps and then plants them on the front lines at age nine. The terror group uses the brainwashed children as human shields, as informants, and for blood transfusions for its own injured soldiers.
9: They destroy ancient cities and priceless artifacts.
Last week ISIS militants left a trail of destruction through the 2,800-year-old capital of the Assyrian empire, Khorsabad, famous for its 64-foot wall erected in 713 BC. ISIS previously attacked the ancient cities of Nimrud and Hatra. ISIS may be selling artifacts on the black market, though it’s also destroyed artifacts from Iraq’s Mosul Museum and the Mosul Public Library – including books from the Ottoman era and sand glass used by ancient Arabs.
Related: ISIS Burns 8,000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul
10: They make chemical weapons.
ISIS has numerous bomb-making factories in Mosul. At one site ISIS warned nearby residents earlier this year to beware of a gas leak – something had gone wrong during the making of a chlorine bomb.
At the end of January, ISIS tried (and failed) to extract chemical and poisonous waste in Tikrit that had been carefully buried by United Nation teams. “The man in charge of ISIS’s chemical weapons is an Egyptian engineer with an MS from Cairo,” Riyadh Mohammed reported last month for The Fiscal Times. “It is believed he operates somewhere in agricultural area in southern Baghdad.”
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