The ISIL Takfiri terrorists have executed 16 Iraqi merchants who were transporting foodstuff from the northern strategic city of Baiji to the western city of Haditha, Press TV reported.
"Daesh (Arabic acronym for ISIL) executed 16 Haditha traders last night," Baiji city mayor, Abdelhakim al-Jughaifi, said on Sunday, noting that the men were first kidnapped and then were either shot to death or beheaded.
"The victims were transporting mostly food goods, such as vegetables, from Baiji to Haditha," the mayor said, adding, "They were stopped at a checkpoint and abducted. They then executed them, some by shooting them, others by slitting their throats."
He also said Haditha residents discovered the bodies of the victims on the road and carried them back to the city.
Baiji, which is located nearly 200 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, remains under control of the ISIL terrorists. Haditha, which lies about 130 kilometers southwest of Baiji, is the last major city in the western Anbar province.
A Haditha tribal fighter, named Abu Maath al-Jughaifi, said a note was found on one of the victim's bodies indicating Takfiri terrorists' claims that the executions were carried out to avenge the killing of ISIL militants during recent clashes near Haditha.
Iraqi government forces backed by Shia and Sunni volunteer fighters recaptured the town Husaybah in Anbar province on Saturday as they advance towards the major city of Ramadi.
Also on Saturday, security officials said the Iraqi army and the volunteer fighters jointly repelled an ISIL attack on the town of Khalidiya, located about 83 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been in chaos since ISIL started its campaign of terror in early June 2014. The army and volunteer forces have been engaged in joint operations to liberate the areas under the ISIL control ever since.