New images have emerged that appear to show Islamic State militants stoning a blindfolded and bound man and woman to death in Iraq after they were accused of having sex before marriage, reports Daily Mail.
The pictures appear to have been taken in the Islamic State group-stronghold of Mosul in Nineveh province with a large crowd gathered in the background watching the event.
A militant read out the charge of "fornication" against the couple, which suggests they may have had sex before getting married as opposed to committing adultery. The militants then began throwing stones at the couple who were bound together.
The images were released on March 30 on a day when Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims a U.S. drone strike killed two of its advisers in Iraq. The U.S. has said in the past it only strikes against Islamic State group militants in the area.
The guard said the strike happened on March 23 after the U.S. began supporting Iraqi forces with airstrikes in efforts to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State group control. The Iran Revolutionary Guard identified the dead as Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari, making it the first time Iran has said it lost forces in an attack by the U.S.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said: "The international coalition is aimed at Daesh only," using an alternate Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
“All airstrikes are carried out at the request of the Iraqi government and in full coordination with the (Iraqi) Ministry of Defense,” the embassy said, without directly addressing the Iranian claim.
Daily Mail explains that General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate hearing on March 26 that the U.S. agreed to Iraqi government requests to support the operation on the condition that the militias wouldn't be involved. Mouin al-Kadhimy, a spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Units, the government-backed body overseeing the various militias, said it was not aware of reports that Iranians were killed near Tikrit.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said the U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria have not been effective in the fight against Islamic State group, as he claims the terrorist group has expanded its reach and gained strength since the airstrikes began.
Assad said that although the airstrikes do "have local benefit … if you want to talk in terms of (Islamic State group), actually (Islamic State group) has expanded since the beginning of the strikes."
"It's not traditional war. It's not about capturing land and gaining land. It's about winning the hearts and minds of the Syrians," Assad said.