Yazidi refugees flee for their lives from Islamic State forces near the Syrian border, August 11..
(photo credit: RODI SAID / REUTERS)
The Islamic State has the capability to launch attacks “anywhere in the world,” a Yazidi community leader said at the annual conference held by the International Institute for Counter- Terrorism on Tuesday.
“The Islamic State has no nuclear capability, but it has thousands of suicide bombers that can attack people anywhere in the world,” said Mirza Dinnayi, a senior Yazidi leader and a former adviser on minority affairs to the Iraqi president.
The northern Iraqi city of Mosul fell easily upon being attacked by the Islamic State, he said, adding that similar incidents have happened repeatedly throughout the history of the city since the time of the Ottoman Empire.
“At first, the various minorities thought that they would be fine under Islamic State rule,” said the leader, as at first, even the small Christian community in Mosul remained.
However, eventually the Christian community in the Iraqi city was given three options: Convert to Islam, pay a poll tax or exile.
“Christians chose to leave the Islamic State and in response it began attacking the various minorities that remained,” he said.
Dinnayi asserted the group is being supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar and controls territory four times the size of Israel.
“This is a holy war in the name of Allah.”
“When the attacks against the Yazidis began, those who did not have the ability to travel, fled to the mountains,” explained Dinnayi, pointing out that the Muslims there cooperated with the terrorists in slaughtering them and raping their wives.
Dinnayi complained that the international community was too slow to react.
“Today there are more than 300,000 refugees, 3,000 killed, and 5,000 women kidnapped,” he claimed.
The Yazidis, followers of an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism, are spread over northern Iraq and are part of the country’s Kurdish minority.
The conference is taking place this week until Thursday at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Reuters contributed to this report.