Islamic State ‘harvests organs to raise money’

Demonstration against the beheading of 21 Egyptians by Islamic State (IS). Picture: Getty

Demonstration against the beheading of 21 Egyptians by Islamic State (IS). Picture: Getty

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IRAQ has urged the United Nations to look at allegations that Islamic State (IS) extremists are using organ harvesting as a way to finance their activities.

Ambassador to the UN Mohamed Alhakim told reporters that, in the past few weeks, bodies with surgical incisions and missing kidneys or other body parts have been found in shallow mass graves. He said: “We have bodies. Come and examine them. It is clear they are missing certain parts.”

Mr Alhakim also said a dozen doctors had been “executed” in the IS stronghold of Mosul for refusing to participate in organ harvesting.

He briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in Iraq and accused IS of “crimes of genocide” in targeting certain ethnic groups.

Nikolay Mladenov, the outgoing UN envoy to Iraq, told the Security Council that 790 people were killed in January alone by terrorism and armed conflict.

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He noted the increasing number of reports and allegations that IS is using organ harvesting as a financing method.

However, he said only that “it’s very clear that the tactics Isil [another acronym for the group] is using expand by the day”.

Mr Mladenov said Iraq’s most pressing goal is to win back the vast territory IS has seized in the past year. The Sunni militants seized a third of both Iraq and neighbouring Syria and imposed strict Sharia law.

He said: “Especially worrying is the increasing number of reports of revenge attacks committed, particularly against the Sunni community in areas liberated from Isil control.”

Iraqi prime minister Haider Abadi said a major offensive was being prepared to oust IS from Mosul. He said work had begun on plans to liberate the country’s third-largest city, under IS control since last June.

Mr Abadi insisted he did not want the international coalition to supply ground forces, but called for more equipment and training for Iraq’s military.

The UK has been involved in the bombing campaign against IS forces in Iraq, and Mr Abadi said the coalition air strikes had increased in “intensity and quality” in recent weeks. He said careful plans were being made to retake Mosul from IS, also known by the Arabic name Daesh.

He said: “We are now planning an offensive on Mosul in the coming few months. We have to prepare for it carefully because the only choice we have in Mosul, we have to win in Mosul to kick Daesh out. Our security forces must be ready to do this and we are working very hard to make that possible. I’m pretty sure we can liberate Mosul with the minimum of casualties and costs, and cause a lot of damage to Daesh.”

Setting out assistance he wanted from the international coalition led by the US, he said: “We don’t want boots on the ground. But we need ammunition, we need armament, we need training, we need aid cover, we need other intelligence help to defeat Daesh.”

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