U.S. defence officials say American planes have conducted a second airdrop of food and water for thousands of refugees trapped in Iraq’s Sinjar mountains.
The chief spokesman for the Pentagon, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says that three planes dropped 72 bundles of supplies for the refugees. Included in the aid were more than 28,000 meals and more than 1,500 gallons of water.
Members of the Yazidi religious minority have been trapped for days by Islamic State militants and fear they will be slaughtered if they leave the mountains.
Two Navy fighter jets escorted the supply planes. The airdrop was the second by the U.S. in two days.
Rear Adm. Kirby spoke from New Delhi during a trip by U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.
‘Militants hold hundreds of Yazidi women in Mosul’
Hundreds of Yazidi women have been taken captive by Sunni militants with “vicious plans”, an Iraqi official has said, further underscoring the dire plight of Iraq’s minorities at the hands of the Islamic State group.
Kamil Amin, the spokesman for Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry, said on Friday hundreds of Yazidi women below the age of 35 are being held in schools in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. He said the Ministry learned of the captives from their families.
“We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them,” Mr. Amin told The Associated Press in Baghdad. “We think that these women are going to be used in demeaning ways by those terrorists to satisfy their animalistic urges in a way that contradicts all the human and Islamic values.”
The U.S. has confirmed that the Islamic State group has kidnapped and imprisoned Yazidi women so that they can be sold or married off to extremist fighters, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information came from classified intelligence reports.
There was no solid estimate of the number of women victimised, the official said.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled when the Islamic State group earlier this month captured the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, near the Syrian border. The Yazidis practice an ancient religion that the Sunni Muslim radicals consider heretical.