Jihadists with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq reportedly cut off the hands of three women and whipped five men for violating a cell phone ban in Mosul, Iraq. The group also known as ISIS has warned that anyone caught using a cell phone would be subject to public whippings or worse.
ISIS opposes all phone use amid concerns residents will share sensitive information that would help the U.S.-led airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, media reports indicate. The coalition has targeted ISIS fighters since August, with at least 20 airstrikes in Mosul.
The cell phone ban and subsequent punishments appear to be the latest acts of violence and brutality from ISIS, which made swift advances in Iraq last summer and has turned Raqqa, Syria, into its capital. In recent weeks, ISIS fighters reportedly forced Syrian civilians to donate blood for wounded fighters. Female Yazidi hostages also were required to give blood. “Forcing civilians to donate blood is prohibited and inhuman, especially since the IS group does so randomly, regardless of the type of blood,” al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reporter Jiwan Soz told ARA News. “The group is drawing blood in a primitive way without using the medical tools necessary for this process.”
ISIS has long prohibited behaviors such as drinking alcohol, cursing, smoking and other acts deemed “haram,” or sinful. Most recently, the severed head of an ISIS official reportedly was found last month in eastern Syria with a cigarette in its mouth. “This is not permissible, sheik,” read a note attached to the corpse in Arabic, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
ISIS has also banned music and the sale of cigarettes and hookah pipes, noting the “financial and health damages” from smoking, al-Monitor reported. “Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying God,” the so-called ISIS Preaching Office reportedly said in a statement last year. “Three days following the issuance of the statement, selling tobacco and shisha [water pipes] will be strictly prohibited and those who insist on selling them will bring injustice upon themselves and upon other people. All tobacco quantities will be burned and the seller will be punished according to Sharia.”