BAGHDAD (TheBlaze/AP) — Radical Islamic militants in Iraq reportedly tweeted a picture of a Sunni police chief’s severed head and made a disturbing “joke” about using it as a soccer ball.
“This is our ball…it is made of skin #WorldCup,” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group allegedly wrote.
By using the popular hashtag, it increased the likelihood that more people would see the gruesome photo. The Twitter account was shut down after the graphic tweet.
In a horrifying propaganda video, the terrorists are shown storming the Sunni police chief’s home at night before blindfolding him and beheading him with a huge knife. It wasn’t immediately clear when the video was taken.
Fighters from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant made fresh gains, driving government forces at least temporarily from two towns in an ethnically mixed province northeast of Baghdad. The assault threatens to embroil Iraq more deeply in a wider regional conflict feeding off the chaos caused by the civil war in neighboring Syria.
In Geneva, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay warned of “murder of all kinds” and other war crimes in Iraq, and said the number killed in recent days may run into the hundreds, while the wounded could approach 1,000.
Pillay said her office has received reports that militants rounded up and killed Iraqi army soldiers as well as 17 civilians in a single street in Mosul. However, the rebels have made the unverified claim that they have killed over 1,700 Iraqi soldiers and police officers.
Obama did not specify what options he was considering, but he ruled out sending American troops back into combat in Iraq.
“We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we’re there we’re keeping a lid on things, and after enormous sacrifices by us, after we’re not there, people start acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country,” Obama said on the South Lawn of the White House.
Administration officials said Obama is weighing airstrikes using drones or manned aircraft. Other short-term options include an increase in surveillance and intelligence-gathering. The U.S. also is likely to increase aid to Iraq, including funding, training and both lethal and non-lethal equipment.