Baghdad: The Islamic State jihadist group has in recent days executed more than 200 members of an Iraqi tribe that fought against it, officials and a tribal leader said on Sunday.
Accounts varied as to the exact period in which the Sunni Albu Nimr tribesmen were killed in Iraq`s Anbar province, west of Baghdad, but the executions were all said to have been carried out within the last 10 days.
Police Colonel Shaaban al-Obaidi told AFP that there were more than 200 people killed, while Faleh al-Essawi, the deputy head of the Anbar provincial council, put the toll at 258.
The victims, "including women and children, all of them from the Albu Nimr tribe," were killed "during the past three days," Essawi said.
"Anyone who carries the Nimrawi family name on his personal ID" is targeted and killed by IS, he added, referring to the name carried by members of the tribe.
Sheikh Naim al-Kuoud al-Nimrawi, a leader of the tribe, said that 381 of its members were killed "from the 24th of last month until today."
IS has overrun large areas of Anbar, and the killings are likely aimed at discouraging resistance from powerful local tribes, who will be key to any successful bid to retake the province.
Pro-government forces have suffered a string of setbacks in Anbar in recent weeks. That has prompted warnings that the province, which stretches from the borders with Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the western approach to Baghdad, could fall entirely.
Images said to show the aftermath of some of the killings were distributed on Twitter, but their authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
One picture that has been circulating in the last week shows a line of more than 30 men in civilian clothes lying in the middle of a street with streams of blood running over the dusty ground, as young men and children look on.
The victims are barefoot and many are blindfolded, their hands bound behind their backs.
In a sign of further retribution against its opponents, IS militants detained dozens of members of the Jubur tribe in the Al-Alam area of Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad, officials and a tribal leader said.
Some sources said the men were detained on suspicion of forming an armed group to oppose IS, while others said they had taken down the group`s flag and distributed flyers calling for people to fight the jihadists.
In one neighbourhood in the town of Dhuluiyah, also in Salaheddin, members of the Jubur tribe took up arms alongside security forces and have held out against IS for months.
IS did not immediately claim responsibility for killing the members of the Albu Nimr tribe, but it has executed hundreds of people in areas of Iraq and Syria that it controls.
Human Rights Watch says there is evidence the group executed between 560 and 770 men -- mostly captured soldiers -- earlier in the year.
IS also executed hundreds of members of a Syrian tribe that fought against them, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.