Iraqi authorities announced on Sunday that they had begun exhuming the remains of 85 ISIS fighters and their relatives from a mass grave in Mosul, who died during battles to retake the city from ISIS control between 2016 and 2017.
This is the first time that the discovery in Iraq of a cemetery containing the remains of ISIS members who died during the Iraqi army’s battle to regain control of Mosul, with the support of the international coalition, between October 2016, has been announced. and the summer of 2017.
From 2014 until its defeat in late 2017, ISIS controlled large areas of Iraqi territory, with the city of Mosul forming its stronghold.
During this period, the organization carried out “genocide” operations in Iraq according to the United Nations, leaving more than 200 mass graves that could contain up to 12,000 bodies.
Authorities knew the location of the mass grave in Mosul, but forensic medicine began opening it on Saturday, according to a Civil Defense official in Nineveh Governorate.
The cemetery is located on a vacant lot behind a mosque in a residential area in the Al-Rifai neighborhood in the west of the city, according to the director of forensic medicine, Dr. Hassan Wathiq Al-Anzi.
“On the first day we raised 35 bodies and on the second day 50 bodies and work is still underway,” he said, unable to estimate the number of people buried at this site.
“We will take all measures in accordance with the law of forensic medicine and we will examine the DNA to determine the conformity and belonging of these bodies,” he added.
Since Saturday, forensic staff have been digging through the vacant lot, removing bones and skulls, then placing them in black body bags, before transporting them in a forensic truck, according to an AFP journalist.