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Islamic state releases flag-burning Iraqis


Baghdad- The Islamic State extremist group has released all but eight of the 170 people it had arrested on Saturday in Northern Iraq on suspicion of burning banners of the group.

Officials, who declined to be named, said on Sunday that 162 youths and men were released after the militants interrogated them about the incident which took place near the town of Hawijah, in Kirkuk province.

Hawijah is a stronghold of former president Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

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Analysts said that Baathist forces have joined the insurgency against the Iraqi government. However, they are considered to be generally weaker than the jihadists.

The release came shortly after Islamic State late Saturday published a new video showing British hostage, John Cantlie, in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which fell to the jihadists in June.

The video shot in the style of a television news report, shows Cantlie driving through busy streets and shopping in a market as he denounces reports in Western media that the city is suffering shortages, price rises and electricity cuts.

Cantlie, a photojournalist, who was abducted in Syria in November 2012, has appeared in previous propaganda videos released by the group.

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Five Western hostages reportedly held alongside Cantlie have been beheaded by the extremists and videos of their killings released online.

Islamic State controls much of Sunni Northern and Western Iraq, as well as large areas of neighbouring Syria, where it was fighting the army of President Bashar al-Assad as well as rival rebels and Kurdish forces. (dpa/NAN)

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