Captured Iraqi Soldiers 'Lined Up And Shot'

Footage has emerged which appears to show a fighter from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) questioning and killing unarmed Iraqi soldiers.

Clashes are continuing between the Sunni insurgents, who seized large swathes of territory in the past week, and security forces in several areas, including west of Baghdad where an army helicopter was shot down.

The two-man crew was killed in the attack near the city of Fallujah which has been under the control of the militants since January.

At the weekend, ISIS fighters released graphic pictures purporting to show some of the 1,700 Shia soldiers they claim they have shot dead near Tikrit.

The UN has condemned the "cold-blooded" killings, saying it appeared "hundreds of non-combatant men were summarily executed".

According to a translation of the footage, militants order their prisoners to chant the ISIS slogan "Baqiya", which is thought to mean "(ISIS) will remain in existence" or "Islamic state will stay".

When asked where the government forces are, a soldier replies they have left.

The fighters then threaten to chop off the head of one of the soldiers, who are lined up on the ground.

The footage appears to have spurred on decisive action from the United States to bring the crisis to a halt.

America has sent another warship into the Persian Gulf to join several of its warships already poised for action, and it is not ruling out US drone strikes, saying they "may well" also be an option.

The earlier ISIS images posted online showed the Sunni insurgents loading captives on to flatbed trucks, forcing them to lie face-down in a ditch with their arms tied behind their backs before they were shot dead.

The militants, who have threatened to march on the capital, claimed to have captured 2,500 soldiers, although that number has not been confirmed

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said: "It appears hundreds of non-combatant men were summarily executed over the past five days, including surrendered or captured soldiers, military conscripts, police and others associated with the government.

"Although the numbers cannot be verified yet, this apparently systematic series of cold-blooded executions, mostly conducted in various locations in the Tikrit area, almost certainly amounts to war crimes."

Chief Iraqi military spokesman, Lieutenant General Qassim al Moussawi, confirmed the authenticity of the earlier pictures and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured soldiers in areas held by ISIS.

But he added an examination of the images by experts showed that approximately 170 soldiers were shot dead, not the 1,700 ISIS had claimed.

The US condemned the "bloodlust" of ISIS after the pictures emerged and Sky's Diplomatic Editor Tim Marshall said the release of the images means the militants have "got the attention of the world".

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has vowed to recapture the territory seized by the insurgents last week.

Fighters have swept through towns and cities along the Tigris, but have since halted around an hour's drive north of the capital, Baghdad.

In the latest fighting, residents of the northern town of Tal Afar said ISIS had taken control after a dawn raid.

Militants have also seized the Al-Adhim area in Diyala province, north of Baghdad.

Iraq's army is holding out in Samarra, which has been the subject of numerous attacks by militants.

Security in Baghdad has been tightened, but despite this three explosions left at least 15 people dead and dozens injured.