Iraq: 24 militants sentenced to death for killing soldiers

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court has issued death sentences to 24 militants for their role in killing hundreds of soldiers last year.

Four others were acquitted for lack of evidence.

The slain soldiers were captured by the Islamic State group when they overran Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in summer 2014. At the time, the soldiers were trying to flee from a nearby army base.

Inside the court room, the victims' relatives held up pictures of their loved ones. Some burst into tears and others chanted "Allahu Akbar" and "Oh, Hussein", in reference for a revered Shiite saint and Prophet Muhammad's grandson.

After Tikrit was captured, IS posted graphic images and video that showed its gunmen massacring scores of the soldiers after loading the captives onto flatbed trucks and then forcing them to lay face-down in a shallow ditch.