NEW: Officials cast doubt on early reports of death toll
An Iraqi lawmaker says at least 200 Yazidis were killed Friday
A Yazidi political party puts that figure at more than 300
ISIS militants killed at least 200 Yazidis near Mosul on Friday, an Iraqi lawmaker said Sunday.
The political party Yazidi Progress said the figure was higher, with more than 300 killed.
However, another Iraqi lawmaker and a Kurdish official said Tuesday they had no information supporting that claim, with the Kurdish official saying only six or seven Yazidis were killed Friday.
The Yazidis are one of the world’s smallest and oldest monotheistic religious minorities. Their religion is considered a pre-Islamic sect that draws from Christianity, Judaism and the ancient monotheistic religion of Zoroastrianism.
They have been a target of ISIS in its reign of terror over parts of Iraq and Syria as the group has established what it calls an Islamic State.
Kurdish forces have been battling ISIS on the ground. Iraqi member of parliament Habib al-Tarfi, citing information from Kurdish intelligence sources and activists, reported Sunday that at least 200 were killed Friday. “We condemn this heinous act against this Iraqi component of our society, our Yazidi brothers,” he said.
Yazidi Progress also condemned the “heinous criminal acts.”
While no group has claimed responsibility for the deaths, al-Tarfi and Yazidi Progress believe ISIS is responsible.
ISIS attacks on Yazidis drove an estimated 40,000 up into the Sinjar Mountains last summer.