Kurdish forces find mass grave of ‘ISIS victims’ in Iraq

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Kurdish forces in northern Iraq on Thursday found a mass grave containing the bodies of at least 11 Iraqi policemen presumed killed by extremists, a peshmerga security official said.

“A mass grave was discovered on Thursday in the Duraji area” where there are many caves once used as hideouts by ISIS terrorist group, the official said.

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Duraji is in Salaheddin province in an area disputed between the federal government and the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

“The bodies of at least 11 Iraqi police officers have been taken from the grave so far” since the operation began in the morning, said the official.

“We think they had been prisoners of ISIS in 2018,” the official said, adding that both peshmerga and Iraqi federal police were taking part in the search.

He said the mass grave was discovered as a result of “information obtained from ISIS hideouts in the region where the extremists imprisoned members of the Iraqi forces they captured.”

ISIS seized swathes of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.

The Baghdad government declared the extremist group defeated in late 2017, although ISIS retains sleeper cells which still strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.

On December 5, four peshmerga fighters were killed and five wounded in an attack on an outpost north of Kirkuk that officials blamed on ISIS.

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