The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, arrested at least 70 people in Anbar province Saturday who were attending the funeral of a man who was executed by the militant group, Anbar officials told the Associated Press. However, a separate report from Iraq news outlet Shafaq News suggested that as many as 200 people may have been detained.
Bassem Eid Ammash, the speaker of the Anbar Provincial Council, told Shafaq that after the burial, the attendees demonstrated against ISIS and its practices, and the group fired back. “[The] ISIS organization arrested about 200 citizens of Rutba people, having acted with the demonstrators violently, through the launch of bullets above them to disperse them, as demonstrators refused to end their protest," Ammash told Shafaq.
Agence France-Presse reporter Ammar Karim, stationed in Baghdad, confirmed the arrests via Twitter, saying that the group planned to kill the people it had taken.
— Ammar karim (@ammar_afp) August 29, 2015
Those arrested were reportedly transferred to a prison in Rutba, a city located west of Ramadi in central Iraq, where they could face execution themselves. But the specific whereabouts of the prisoners are unclear, the AP reports.
The protesters were mourning the death of Rutba resident Nathir al-Kubaisi, who was executed for “attacking one of ISIS elements in Rutba market and killing an ISIS element with a light weapon,” Ammash told Shafaq. He had been arrested and executed by gunfire in front of his family and relatives Friday.
“There is a state of alert and fear among ISIS elements in Rutba city, for the people of the city to bear arms against them,” Ammash said.
Iraq residents have been working to take back control of Anbar Province from ISIS for the last year. In June, Iraq's Defense Ministry and U.S. advisers crafted a new plan to fight ISIS in Anbar. But the group have faced repeated setbacks. Earlier this week, an ISIS affiliate killed two Iraqi generals in a suicide attack outside Ramadi, the New York Times reported.