Islamic State militants have released more than 200 members of the Yazidi religious community being held in northern Iraq. Kurdish security officials said most of the 216 prisoners were in poor health and bore signs of abuse and neglect.
As many as 40 children were among those freed, while the rest were adult persons. However, no reason was given for the release of the prisoners who were originally abducted from the area around Sinjar in the country’s north.
It is the second time that prisoners have been released by IS in recent months. In January hundreds of Yazidis, including several sick children, were released by the IS militants.
IS attacked the Yezidis in Iraq last year, killing and abducting thousands. Some of the captives told they had been held in the IS stronghold of Tel Afar most of the time, but in the days leading up to their release, they were moved from one town to another.
Meanwhile, Iraqi troops have said they are gaining ground in a fresh offensive against IS in the western province of Anbar.