Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, have reportedly cut off the hands of three women for unknown charges and publicly whipped five men for violating the extremist group’s city-wide ban on cell phones.
International Business Times reports Islamic State has banned phone use in the city for fear that residents there might give away sensitive information that could aid the U.S.-led airstrikes against the group.
The coalition airstrikes have been underway since August with at least 20 strikes in Mosul.
The militant group said anyone caught using a cell phone would be publicly whipped.
The group had reportedly attempted to block all phone networks in the the city in November and completely banned the use of private cell phones.
A source who contacted Iraqi News said it is believed the five men were trying to reach relatives outside of the city.
“(On Feb. 12) the ISIS (Islamic State) militants cut three women’s hands off for unknown charges,” the source said, “They also whipped five people for using cellphones to contact their relatives while standing on the celebration stage in the Cultural Compound in central Mosul.”
“ISIS told the people of Mosul that it would whip anyone 30 times if they were caught using cellphones,” the anonymous source said.
Although it remains unclear why exactly the women were punished, The Independent reports that a penal code for a branch of Islamic State operating in Aleppo, Syria, listed amputation of the hands as punishment for theft.
Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city and considered to be a major stronghold for Islamic State, which has taken over significant parts of Syria and Iraq. The city fell to the extremist group in June.
In Syria, the group has recently drawn condemnation for forcing civilians in areas it controls to give blood for fighters wounded in the coalition airstrikes.
“Forcing civilians to donate blood is prohibited and inhuman, especially since the Islamic State group does so randomly, regardless of the type of blood,” Kurdish journalist Jiwan Soz is quoted as saying in International Business Times. “The group is drawing blood in a primitive way without using the medical tools necessary for this process.”