HRW calls Al Qaeda's action in Iraq "abhorrent"
The rights group said Islamic States of Iraq and Syria, a group affiliated with Al Qaeda, took credit for the execution-style slaying of four Iraqi troops Jan. 20 near Ramadi, the capital of restive Anbar province.
"These abhorrent killings are the latest in a long list of ISIS atrocities, at a time when civilians in Anbar province are stuck in the fighting and getting abused by all sides," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Wednesday.
Al Qaeda took over parts of Anbar province this year amid growing complaints from the Sunni community there of marginalization by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite seeking a third term in office in April.
U.S. forces twice took on insurgents in Anbar during the height of the Iraqi conflict before U.S. military operations ended in 2011.
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee said Wednesday it would look into the rise of Al Qaeda activity in Iraq.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the committee, said Wednesday terrorist in Iraq are feeding off the political crisis.
"Al Qaeda has become very skilled at exploiting this sectarian rift and Maliki's power grab has given them much ammunition," he said in his opening remarks.