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HRW: Iraq Shiite militias have carried out revenge attacks against Sunnis

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday accused [HRW report] Iraqi Shiite militias of carrying out "revenge attacks" against Sunnis in wake of an Islamic State (IS) suicide bombing attack at a local cafe. The militia group has abducted and killed many Sunni residents in the central Iraq town of Muqdadiya, as well as demolishing homes, stores and mosques. The attacks come in response to a double suicide bombing on January 11 claimed by IS in which at least 26 people were killed. IS had also claimed that the attack was intended to target the Shiite militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces [TRAC backgrounder]. The rights group went on to note that such unjustified destruction of property when committed in the context of an armed conflict are "serious violations of international humanitarian law."

IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has perpetrated war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this week HRW stated in a report that mass graves in Iraq are being disturbed [JURIST report], which could lead to destroyed evidence in proving possible genocide committed against the Yazidi. In December Iraqi government officials ordered Turkey to withdraw [JURIST report] hundreds of troops deployed near Mosul, the largest city currently controlled by IS militants. Iraqi President Fouad Massoum stated that the deployment was a "violation of international norms and law" and may be considered a hostile act. In November IS claimed responsibility [JURIST report] for a series of coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 individuals. That same month, US President Barack Obama ordered [JURIST report] an assessment of whether intelligence reports from US Central Command were changed before formal submission to present a more optimistic picture of the American military campaign against the IS.

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