News and Views
Islamic State militants ‘caught cross-dressing in attempt to flee battlefield unhindered’
- Men tried to escape northern Iraq in dresses and make-up, Iraqi forces said
- Pictures posted on Instagram account that also had photos of corpses
- Women and girls are not allowed to fight under Sharia law
Islamic State fighters are shaving off their beards and dressing as women in a bid to escape from battle, Iraqi forces have claimed.
A series of pictures have emerged showing men who have reportedly been caught trying to escape from northern Iraq wearing dresses, bras and make-up.
The photographs, posted on Instagram, show authorities appearing to pull back burkas to reveal young boys and even men with moustaches.
In one a scared teenager wearing pink eyeshadow is held by the throat as an official takes a picture. It is not known when the photograph was originally taken.
The account also carries images of dead fighters, the Sunday Mirror reported.
Under Sharia law, which ISIS partially adheres to, women are prevented from fighting.
Jihadists are believed to be terrified of being killed by a female because they think it will stop them getting their 72 virgins in heaven.
The photographs were revealed just five days after it emerged three men from the region were accused of homosexuality and publicly beheaded by a sword-wielding ISIS executioner.
Iraqi troops and militia are battling to push ISIS back from the area with support from a US-led coalition and Iran.
But retaking Nineveh and Mosul poses a major challenge for Baghdad’s forces, as the militants have had more than nine months to dig in.
Iraqi forces launched a huge operation last week aimed at retaking the city of Tikrit that, if successful, would serve as a stepping stone towards Mosul.