* Photos show thief before and after amputation
* ISIL considered the most radical of opposition groups
BEIRUT, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Islamist militants trying to enforce their religious strict code in rebel-held areas of Syria have cut off the hand of an alleged thief in Aleppo province, jihadi social media said on Friday.
Photos of the public event were posted on Twitter by several jihadi accounts, including "Jehad News", which said the thief in the northern town of Maskanah had admitted his crimes "and also asked that his hand be cut off to cleanse his sins".
It was not immediately possible to verify the accounts. One photo showed a blindfolded man with his hand being held on a table while several militants watched, one with a large knife.
A later photo showed the man with his hand severed.
The punishment was inflicted by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), mainly composed of foreign fighters, an al Qaeda splinter group that is widely considered the most radical of the groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad. It is also engaged in a violent struggle with rival Islamist rebels.
ISIL controls much of rebel-held Syria in the north. In the city of Raqqa, it has demanded that Christians pay a levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.
It has also banned Christians from owning weapons and from selling pork or wine to Muslims or drinking wine in public. (Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Alistair Lyon)
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