Two women were stoned to death by Islamic State militants within a 24-hour period last month, the AP reports. Their alleged crime: adultery. "People were shocked and couldn't understand what was going on," says an activist witness to one of the stonings in northern Syria. Militants called on locals in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa to hurl the stones, but no one would—prompting the militants to act alone. "Even when she was hit with stones she did not scream or move," says the activist, who notes that he heard the woman had received anesthesia. Another activist says the victim was a widow.
Her family wasn't told that the sentence "was going to be carried out at this time," another activist earlier told AFP. The other stoning occurred nearby, with a 26-year-old woman as the victim. These killings come amid beheadings and a report of a 14-year-old tied to a "cross-like structure" for hours, the AP notes. Hundreds of Yazidi minority women under age 35, meanwhile, are reportedly being held in schools in Mosul, Iraq. The Islamic State has "imposed incredibly restrictive rules on the civilian population [that] have served to make women and girls particularly vulnerable," says a Human Rights Watch researcher. (Read more Islamic State stories.)