Iraqi authorities announced that they exhumed the remains of 123 bodies from two mass graves in the northern province of Nineveh.
“The remains near Badush Prison are possibly of the jail’s security personnel,” Nineveh Governor Najm al-Jubouri said in a press conference on Sunday at the site of the mass graves, northwest of the provincial capital Mosul, about 400 km north of Baghdad.
“Dozens of mass graves have been documented and are waiting to be opened, including the al-Khasfa sinkhole south of Mosul, which is the largest site about a hundred meters deep,” al-Jubouri said.
He also called on the UN and other international organizations to help Iraq uncover dozens of mass graves in the province, reports Xinhua news agency.
Dhia Kareem, head of Iraqi Martyrs Foundation, told the press conference that most of the remains belong to victims who were killed by Islamic State (IS) terrorists during their reign over Mosul between 2014 and 2017.
“The graves of Badush Prison are large, with more than 123 bodies out of 500 having been exhumed so far, and the national team is unable to open and identify mass graves in Iraq alone without the assistance of international expertise,” Kareem said.
In July 2017, Iraq formally declared that Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, was liberated from the IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in the country.
A large part of of Nineveh came under IS control in June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to control parts of Iraq’s northern and western regions.
After seizing control of the city, the IS executed some 4,000 Iraqi Security Force prisoners, and dumped their bodies in the single largest known mass grave in Iraq, at the “Khafsa Sinkhole”.
This mass grave was uncovered during the Battle of Mosul (201617).