The United Nations is looking into claims jihadists who have taken over parts of Iraq ordered women to undergo genital mutilation.
"We have current reports of imposition of a directive that all female girl children and women up to the age of 49 must be circumcised," Jacqueline Badcock, a U.N. resident in Iraq, told reporters Thursday, according to news reports.
A U.N. official later clarified the comments, saying Badcock received a single report about the allegation.
"This is not something that is fully verified," Jens Laerke, spokesman for U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told USA TODAY.
The alleged "fatwa" reportedly orders the removal of external female genitals and could affect 4 million women and girls in the area, Badcock said.
Badcock had heard the report from a single source, according to Laerke, and she did not identify the source in the briefing.
"It was not something that was said as fact," Laerke said. "The information is very sketchy and was unconfirmed."
"We are trying to establish the facts," he added.
Doubts surfaced on social media regarding the authenticity of the directive. A document posted on Twitter indicated the order may have been a year old, Reuters reported.
The Islamic State, or ISIS, is a militant group that broke away from al-Qaeda and overtook large areas of Iraq in recent weeks. In Mosul, the group has started to enforce aspects of Shariah law, such as banning alcohol, and recently ordered all Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax or die, according to the Associated Press.