According to the Washington Post on Friday, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a group considered too extreme even for al-Qaeda, amputated an alleged thief’s hand in the remote rural town of Maskanah in the northern province of Aleppo.
In a series of live tweets, ISIS posted three twitter pics. As described by the Post:
The first showed a photograph of a blindfolded man having his arm positioned on a table by fighters as a masked man wielding a sword waits nearby. Another man, wearing a white robe of the kind favored in Arab Gulf countries, is reading a statement. A caption states that the blindfolded man is a thief who had asked to have his hand cut off “in order to cleanse his sins.”
A second photograph was taken just as the sword is about to strike the hand while a burly fighter restrains the victim.
A third picture posted an hour later is too graphic to show here. The man appears to be passed out, with his bloodied arm and his severed hand resting on the table. Fresh slashes in the wood suggest it took four swipes of the sword to cut the hand off.
UK’s Daily Mail, never one to shy away from the gore, carried all three twitter pics.
The armed terrorist group ISIS was established in the early years of the Iraq War, and pledged their allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004, becoming known at the time as “al-Qaeda in Iraq.” The group is thought to have a few thousand members.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for hundreds of deaths, but actual numbers killed may range into the thousands, including members of the Iraqi government and its international allies.
According to a Feb. 3 Washington Post report, al-Qaeda “formally dissociated itself from ISIS,” its onetime associate in Iraq and Syria, “culminating months of feuding and exposing the dwindling influence of [al-Qaeda’s] leadership over an emerging new generation of radicals.”
The Twitter account that carried the amputation, @reyadiraq, has since been suspended. A Twitter spokesperson would not comment on the individual account, instead drawing attention to Twitter rules and media policy.
Prior to the suspension, the account had about 96,000 followers and more than 20,000 tweets of the photo.