Mass grave of IS murder victims uncovered in Iraq

Mass grave of IS murder victims uncovered in Iraq
A mass grave thought to contain bodies of civilians and security forces has been discovered near Hawija in northern Iraq, one of IS' last strongholds in the country
2 min read
26 January, 2018
Dozens of mass graves have been discovered as IS are ousted from Iraq [Getty]

A mass grave containing the remains of dozens of civilians and security personnel thought to have been executed by IS militants has been found in northern Iraq's Kirkuk province, its governor said on Friday.

Rakan Said al-Juburi told AFP it was the 14th such discovery in the area.

"Local residents and shepherds guided security forces to the mass grave which appears to contain the remains of more than 75 civilians and security personnel," he said.

The governor said the victims had been "savagely executed by jihadists who occupied Hawija", one of the last urban centres held by the Islamic State group before it was ousted last year by Iraqi security forces.

The corpses found near Ryadh village, 45 kilometres (28 miles) west of the city of Kirkuk, had been shot in the head with their hands bound behind their backs, he said.

Residents fear that many missing relatives and friends, especially members of the security forces, are likely to have suffered the same fate.

Security forces have discovered dozens of mass graves since they drove out IS in 2017 after three years of occupation of swathes of northern and western Iraq. Victims include Yazidis, security forces, military and civilians.

In December, two mass graves of IS victims were found near Raqqa, Syria, containing bodies of civilians and Syrian troops.

However, doubts have been raised recently over whether such executions were carried out by IS, or by Iraqi Shia militias.