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Hundreds Of Women Captured By ISIS Fighters
Hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive by Islamist militants, Iraq's government has said.
Kamil Amin, a spokesman for the country's human rights ministry, said the women were kidnapped by Islamic State (IS) fighters.
He added that some of the women are being held in schools in Iraq's second city Mosul, and that the ministry learned of the kidnappings from the victims' families.
"We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them," Mr Amin said.
"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."
A US official speaking on condition of anonymity said IS militants kidnapped the women so they could be sold or married off to extremist fighters.
Some 50,000 residents from the ancient Yazidi community fled the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar after IS militants overwhelmed Kurdish forces this month.
Many Yazidis are trapped on Mount Sinjar without food or water and are at risk of starvation as militants surround the base.
Kurdish media has reported that Peshmerga forces have rescued 11,000 of those trapped in the mountains.
The US has been carrying out airstrikes against the militants in the north of the country.
Two F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500lb laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Irbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
Later on Friday, two further strikes were carried out near Irbil, targeting mortar positions and a convoy of IS vehicles.
On Thursday, the US also dropped thousands of gallons of drinking water and 8,000 packaged meals to Yazidis.
President Barack Obama said the airdrops were made at the request of the Iraqi government as IS fighters tightened their grip on northern Iraq.
In his remarks late Thursday, he mentioned "chilling reports" of fighters with the group "rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yazidi women".
IS believes the Yazidis, who are followers of a religion derived from Zoroastrianism, are "devil worshippers".