Islamic State militants behead senior member for theft: Monitor

BEIRUT (AFP) - The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has executed a senior member who was accused of embezzling funds and theft, the Syrian Observatory for H

uman Rights monitor said on Friday.

"The Islamic State executed a senior leader in the group of Syrian nationality, beheading him and hanging his body on a cross" in eastern Deir Ezzor province, it said.

The man was accused of "taking money from Muslims... and embezzling Islamic State funds", the Britain-based monitor added.

The group distributed a photograph of the decapitated man, whose name was given as Jalaybeeb Abu Muntather, hanging from an improvised cross.

A large handwritten document attached to him carried details of the judgment, which it said was handed down by the "commander of the faithful" - the name used by IS for its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It was unclear what role the man had played in IS, and when precisely he was killed, but his death was also reported across social media and by activists.

The Observatory said the execution was announced via loudspeakers in areas under IS control, and that he would be buried in a Muslim cemetery despite having been executed.

IS militants regularly execute those accused of a variety of crimes, ranging from robbery and rape to violations of the group's harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

It controls much of Deir Ezzor, an oil-rich province in eastern Syria.