: Islamic State frees Yazidis hostages

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BEIRUT – The Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Iraq released 216 Yazidis who it held captive since 2014.

A report on Wednesday cited Kurdish officials as saying most those released by the group were women, children and the elderly.

The IS group attacked the Yazidi minority in2014 taking hundreds people hostage, including women allegedly used as sex slaves.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said she did not have the jurisdiction to investigate the IS extremists because Iraq and Syria were not members of the court.

Bensouda said crimes of “unspeakable cruelty” were reported to have been committed by the group, which may amount to crimes against humanity.

In Syria, IS militia set off twin blasts which killed 32 people, mostly rebels from rival Islamic groups, including the -linked al-Nusra Front.

The attacks near Marea, north of Aleppo, killed several key militia leaders.

However, outside of Damascus, in the south of Syria, Palestinian groups continued to allege that al-Nusra Front members were helping IS fighters take over the Yarmouk refugee camp.

Prior to the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, the camp had a population of about 150,000 Palestinians, refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, who are locked in exile.
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Report the camp now is home to only about 16,000 people as many have fled.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation in the West Bank sent an envoy to Damascus to hold talks with the Syrian government and Palestinian groups about the situation in the camp.

Palestinian officials said the meetings with the envoy, Ahmed Majdalani, were focused on finding a way to unite against the IS threat.

However, some Palestinian factions were firmly allied with the Syrian government while were opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. (dpa/NAN)

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