Security forces discovered a mass grave in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, removing at least 18 bodies killed by DAESH terrorist group, police said on Tuesday.
Ramadi was recaptured from the terrorists at the end of December, who overran huge parts of Iraq in 2014 and has many times conducted mass killings and other atrocities during the period.
"So far, we have removed 18 bodies including five members of the police, and work is continuing to remove the remaining victims," police Major Tareq Abdulkarim told AFP.
The mass grave found on Monday in the al Jamiya area of central Ramadi, is "expected to contain the bodies of 40 victims," Abdulkarim said, adding that the victims were locals executed by DAESH terrorists in May 2015.
Sabah Karhout, the head of the Anbar provincial council, confirmed they had found a mass grave and said the victims had either been shot or beheaded.
DAESH terrorists had held shifting parts of Anbar capital Ramadi since early 2014, but it was only able to run the entirety of the city last May.
The fall of Ramadi had been considered a strategic failure for both the Iraqi Army and the US-led coalition battling the terrorist group.
A US-led coalition has been launching an aerial campaign against DAESH terrorist group in Syria and Iraq since September 2014. The United States, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are taking part in the coalition.
The terror group has suffered major territorial losses since 2014, but still controls significant areas of Anbar and Nineveh Province to its north, as well as in neighbouring Syria.