Iraqi lawmakers: Unclear how many Yazidis ISIS killed Friday

Family recounts horrors of ISIS captivity
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Story highlights

  • Lawmaker backtracks on Friday number but says sources have death toll near 70
  • ISIS executed six or seven -- not 200 or 300 -- Yazidis on Friday, lawmaker says
  • Two officials said Sunday that hundreds were killed by ISIS in massacre near Mosul

(CNN)Two Iraqi officials said Tuesday they have no information that supports a story that floated over the weekend that ISIS militants had slaughtered at least 200 -- and perhaps as many as 300 -- Yazidis near Mosul on Friday.

The number that officials gave on Tuesday was somewhere between six to 70
    "We don't have any evidence that ISIS killed 300 Yazidi people," said Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi lawmaker who represents the Yazidi community. "Yes, ISIS committed heinous crimes against Yazidi before, but the latest report is not true."
    Noori Abdulrahman, head of the Kurdistan cabinet's department of coordination and followup, also said the report was untrue.
    Twenty people were executed Friday in Tal Afar, six or seven of whom were Yazidis, he said. The reason for the executions is unclear, said Abdurahman, who handles Yazidi affairs as Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani's envoy to the Sinjar area.
    "I was surprised to see this news published on Sunday morning. I do not know who put out that report/statement," he told CNN.
    He didn't know how many Yazidis were still being held in Tal Afar, he said, but estimated it was in the hundreds.
    Dakhil and Abdulrahman's assertion doesn't jibe with what the political party, Yazidi Progress, and Iraqi Council of Representatives member Habib al-Tarfi told CNN on Sunday.
    Al-Tarfi said at least 200 Yazidis were killed Friday. He cited information from Kurdish intelligence sources and activists.
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    On Tuesday, however, he said his sources were Kurdish officials and former government officials in Nineveh, located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Mosul.
    "I believe ISIS has recently committed crimes against Yazidis and killed a number of them," he said. "However, according to our latest information from activists and other officials ... we don't think that ISIS have killed hundreds of Yazidis, but we believe dozens. I would say nearly 70 Yazidi."
    Yazidi Progress did not name a source for its information, but said Friday the number was closer to 300 Yazidis. The party condemned the "heinous criminal acts."
    No group claimed responsibility for the killings, but both sources said they believed ISIS was the culprit. ISIS, in the past, has claimed responsibility for killings Yazidis.
    A Yazidi Progress representative could be immediately reached to explain the purported discrepancy in the death toll.
    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 Iraq and Syria as the group has established what it calls an Islamic State.
    ISIS attacks on Yazidis drove an estimated 40,000 up into the Sinjar Mountains last summer.