ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A mass grave containing hundreds of victims of the Islamic State (IS) was found on Saturday at a former military base in northern Iraq.
“We are standing here, where ... at least 400 civilians were dragged, some in their red jumpsuits, and brutally executed by Daesh,” Baghdad-appointed Governor of Kirkuk Rakan Saeed told reporters, using the pejorative Arabic acronym for the jihadist group.
The bodies were found at al-Bakara base, three kilometers north of the recently-liberated city of Hawija. The location used to be an American base before being vacated in 2011.
Saeed called on the UN, the Iraqi government and the Commission of Human Rights to conduct DNA examinations to identify the victims in the mass graves.
Hawija was occupied by IS in mid-2014 along with many other areas in northern Iraq. Iraqi forces along with the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia, and with the support of Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, launched an offensive in late September, three years after it was overrun, and retook the city at the beginning of October.
Following the rise of the jihadist group in Iraq in 2014, a large number of mass graves have been discovered in different parts of Iraq, mostly in the north.
Editing by Nadia Riva