By Kyle Balluck - 06/15/14 05:50 PM EDT
The State Department late Sunday condemned a claim by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that it had massacred 1,700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits in Tikrit.
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called it a “horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent.”
“While we cannot confirm these reports, one of the primary goals of ISIL is to set fear into the hearts of all Iraqis and drive sectarian division among its people,” Psaki said in a statement.
“We condemn these tactics in the strongest possible terms and stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people against these horrendous and senseless acts of violence. Terrorists who can commit such heinous acts are a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community.”
Psaki said the violence underscore the need for Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum to take steps to unify the country.
“The United States will do its part to help Iraq move beyond this crisis and we urge all Iraqis to unite against this violence and continue to reject the path of hatred that ISIL represents,” she added.