Iraqi security forces have found mass graves in an area recently retaken from ISIS that could contain up to 400 bodies, an Iraqi official said Monday.
The bodies of civilians and security forces were found in an abandoned base near Hawija, a northern town retaken in early October, Kirkuk governor Rakan Saed said. He didn’t say when authorities will start exhuming the bodies from the mass graves.
Khalaf Luhaibi, a local shepherd who led troops to the site, said ISIS used to bring captives to the area and shoot them dead or pour oil over them and light them on fire. The area was strewn with torn clothing and what appeared to be human bones and skulls.
Iraqi forces have driven ISIS from nearly all the territory it once controlled. Authorities have already uncovered several mass graves in other newly liberated areas.
US-backed Iraqi forces have driven the extremists from nearly all the territory they once controlled, with some fighting still underway near the western border with Syria.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister announced an operation to capture a patch of territory on the western edge of the country near the border with Syria. Hours later, Iraqi Defense Ministry announced capturing Romana area, saying the troops will head to nearby town of Rawa.
According to Ahmed al-Asadi, a spokesman for the Shiite-majority paramilitary forces, Rawa is the last Iraqi town held by ISIS who still control some scattered small villages in mainly desert areas.
Ex-ISIS Iraq territory reveals mass gravesMore than 50 mass graves have been discovered in territory formerly controlled by ISIS fighters in Iraq Middle East
Two mass graves of Iraq’s Yazidis found near MosulKurdish peshmerga forces found the grave near the Shababit junction in northwestern Iraq while scouting the area Middle East
Iraq paramilitaries find mass grave of hundreds executed by ISISIraqi paramilitary forces announced Saturday that they had discovered a mass grave at Badush prison near Mosul containing the remains of hundreds of ... Middle East
Three mass graves found in western IraqThree mass graves have been discovered in Iraq’s western province of Anbar containing the bodies of civilians and members of the security forces ... Middle East