The Islamic State (IS) terror group has captured thousands of fleeing civilians in northern Iraq, the UN announced on Friday.
The UN said it could confirm that up to 3,000 internally displaced Iraqis were captured on Thursday as they attempted to escape villages in the IS-held district of al-Hawija.
“They were attempting to flee to Kirkuk,” UN spokesman, William Spindler said, referring to the Kurdish administered city, 66 km to the north-east of al-Hawija.
Between July 20 and 21, aerial bombings in the al-Hawija region triggered a massive displacement of people.
More than three million Iraqis have been displaced by the violence, with around 220,000 seeking refuge abroad.
The UN estimated that by the end of this year, some 11 million people in Iraq would require humanitarian assistance.