Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Azerbaijan intelligence services are investigating reports that hundreds of the country’s nationals had been killed fighting for Islamic State in Iraq.
Madat Guliyev, head of the State Security service (intelligence) told reporters they had received information that 300 Azerbaijani nationals had been killed fighting for Islamic State in Iraq. He said agency workers were sent to Iraq to verify the reports.
He said those had been “taken in by the propaganda and joined Daesh (IS)”, adding that their families and children accompanied them. “There are information of deaths, even among those children,” the official was quoted saying by Russian agency Interfax.
According to Guliyev, intelligence services in Azerbaijan had detained 85 people over charges of joining the extremist group. He put the total of Azerbaijani citizens who had joined the group since the start of the war at 900.
Citizenship has been stripped from 195 suspects, according to Guliyev.
Also on Sunday, the Iraqi government said it holds 21 foreign children linked to Islamic State members.
The Iraqi Labor and Social Affairs Ministry said it had handed over five Chechen children to their families. Ministry official Abeer al-Chalabi said they still do not possess exact statistics of foreign Islamic State fighters’ families, but were in continued efforts and contacts to deliver the rest.
Last Monday, authorities in Nineveh Province said they were preparing to deport over 500 wives of foreign Islamic State militants to their home countries after they had illegally entered the country three years earlier.
Iraqi forces had said they were holding nearly 1,400 family members of Islamic State fighters who had turned themselves in with Kurdish Peshmerga forces.