Another 45 people burnt to death in Iraq by ISIS, says police chief

Iraqi army soldiers standing before a conference on fighting ISIS in November attended by Iraq's tribal leaders, militiamen and members of the government, at the Al-Asad air base, in Iraq's mainly Sunni Anbar province. Iraqi soldiers backed by US-led
Iraqi army soldiers standing before a conference on fighting ISIS in November attended by Iraq's tribal leaders, militiamen and members of the government, at the Al-Asad air base, in Iraq's mainly Sunni Anbar province. Iraqi soldiers backed by US-led coalition aircraft repelled an attack on Feb 13 by ISIS on the base where hundreds of US troops are training local security forces, officials said. -- PHOTO: AFP 

LONDON - Another 45 people have been reportedly burnt to death by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) militants, in the town of al-Baghdadi in western Iraq, the BBC reported a local police chief saying.

The early word was that the identities of those killed were not clear but that the police chief, Col Qasim al-Obeidi believed most of them to be members of Iraq's security forces.

Much of the town, near the Ain al-Asad air base - not far from an air base staffed by hundreds of United States Marines -was captured by ISIS last week.

The BBC reported Col Obeidi as saying that a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials was now under attack and he pleaded for help from the government and the international community.

If the reports are confirmed, the burnings follow the release of a video by ISIS showing it burning alive a Jordanian air force pilot, whose plane crashed in Syria in December.

Al-Baghdadi had been one of the few towns still under control of the Iraqi government in Anbar province, where ISIS and its Sunni Arab tribesmen alies launched an offensive about a year ago.

Last week, the Pentagon played down the fall of the town as a minor setback, as ISIS extremists launched an unsuccessful assault involving suicide bombers on the nearby Al-Asad air base.

"We do assess that right now they have control of Al- Baghdadi," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference on Friday, adding that ISIS took hold of the town "in the past several days".

A group of 20 to 25 ISIS fighters, most of them wearing Iraqi army uniforms, carried out the failed attack, which appeared designed to be an initial wave of suicide bombings followed by gunmen storming in, Rear-Adm Kirby said. All of the militants were killed or died when detonating suicide bombs.

Rear-Adm Kirby said that "at no time were US troops anywhere near the fighting", which was about 3.2km away from where the Americans were working at the sprawling complex.

American surveillance aircraft tracking the ISIS extremists assisted the Iraqi army forces and Apache attack helicopters were sent in but did open fire, officials said.