Mass grave found near Mosul in Iraq

Iraqi security forces say they have discovered a grave containing some 150 decapitated corpses in the town of Hammam al-Alil which was seized from Daesh last week. The UN is investigating the killings.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The UN also said Daesh fighters took scores of people with them in their retreat from the town of Hammam al-Alil.

Two years ago, Hammam al-Alil was a renowned thermal water resort in Iraq. Now, it is the site of a mass grave.

Iraqi security troops have said they found the remains of some 150 bodies, all decapitated. The victims were reportedly marched here and killed.

The grave was found as Iraqi and allied forces moved towards their ultimate goal of nearby Mosul. The operation to rid Mosul of Daesh was launched earlier in October.

The Iraqi government, US military, local militias and peshmerga forces have faced resistance from the terrorist group which took over the Iraqi city two years ago and is familiar enough with the area to strategically fight back.

"These are the corpses of chopped heads, including children, elderly men and women. It is (an) unforgivable crime. Those people are innocent," an Iraqi officer said, holding a child’s soft toy.

The United Nations was unable to confirm the killings, but said on Tuesday this is where 50 police officers were known to have been executed last month. It is investigating the reports.

The UN also said Daesh fighters took scores of people with them in their retreat from the town. It said the group abducted 295 former Iraqi Security Forces members near the militant stronghold of Mosul last week and also forced 1,500 families to retreat with them from Hammam al-Alil.

"People forcibly moved or abducted, it appears, are either intended to be used as human shields or - depending on their perceived affiliations - killed," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.