Images of additional antigay atrocities in ISIS-controlled territory have emerged, purportedly showing the beheadings of two allegedly gay men and one alleged blasphemer, African website News24 reports.
Details of the reported executions are vague at best, as the latest murders were announced via terrorist sympathizers who shared still images with captions describing the victims' "crimes." No independent confirmation of the executions has yet been obtained, notes News24.
The images depicting the latest acts of barbarism have become typical of the self-described Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's appetite for media coverage of the militants' violent reign: In multiple photos, a masked executioner holds a wide, long sword high over the outstretched necks of young men.
Another common feature in the latest series of grim images from the terrorist group — which many orthodox Muslim clerics have condemned as wholly un-Islamic — speaks less about human dignity than it does of morbid curiosity. At the increasingly frequent public executions of those accused of being gay, sizeable crowds have gathered to witness the brutality on display.
In the February execution of another man accused by ISIS of homosexuality, a crowd reportedly cheered as they watched him plunge from the top of a seven-story building.
The most recent murders also featured a prominent audience who turned out to watch the young men murdered in a traffic circle — this time reportedly by decapitation. The images show the condemned men, blindfolded and seated on their knees in the middle of a roundabout, reportedly in an unnamed Iraqi town in the country's Nineveh province.
It was not immediately clear why ISIS militants would suddenly choose to behead men accused of being gay, rather than relying on the usual tactic of throwing the accused from the roof of "the tallest building in the city," then stoning them to death if they survive the fall, which militants have claimed is the punishment prescribed by ISIS's interpretation of Islam for the so-called crime of homosexuality. The vast majority of previous reports about ISIS executions of allegedly gay men have been through that method.
News of the group's latest antigay murders comes even as ISIS lost control of Tikrit, the Iraqi city whose biggest claim to fame is that is the birthplace and ancestral home of the country's late dictator, Saddam Hussein.
As LGBT blog Towleroad noted, claims about the victim's sexual orientation are all but impossible to verify. That is not only because being out in conservative Middle Eastern societies is highly uncommon, but also because ISIS militants are notorious for alleging homosexuality as a means to discredit and destroy political enemies.