THE United Nations has accused Islamic State fighters in Iraq of executing religious and other leaders as well as teachers and health workers, forcibly recruiting children and raping women among acts that amounted to war crimes.

A UN report focused on a range of violations against civilians, particularly by the Islamic State, though it also said Iraqi forces and allied fighters had not taken precautions to protect civilians from violence. "[This]...may also amount to war crimes," the report found.

At least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed this year in violence, the UN said in the most detailed account yet of the impact of months of unrest culminating in advances by Sunni militants led by the al Qaeda offshot Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL.

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"ISIL and associated armed groups have also continued to perpetrate targeted assassinations (community, political, and religious leaders, government employees, education professionals, health workers, and so on), sexual assault, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, forced recruitment of children, kidnappings, executions and also robberies."

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was ­particularly concerned about the protection and welfare of members of vulnerable groups