Sunni officials in Iraq say Shi'ite militias executed 70 civilians

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi governor, parliamentarian and two tribal chiefs on Monday accused Shi’ite militias of executing more than 70 unarmed civilians who had fled fighting with Islamic State militants.

Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan denied the claims, saying Islamic State was trying to undermine the reputation of Iraqi security forces.

A local official said it was too soon to draw conclusions and suggested Islamic State could have been behind the deaths in the eastern village of Barwanah.

Security forces and pro-government militias took control of about two dozen villages from Islamic State fighters in Diyala province near the border with Iran earlier on Monday after a three-day assault.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Stephen Kalin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy