BAQUBAH, IRAQ: Iraqi police on Friday discovered a mass grave with 153 decomposed bodies south of Baqubah in the volatile Diyala province, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported.
Diyala Police chief Abdulhussein al-Shimari said that the mass grave was found in the Buhrez district, approximately 5 kilometers south of Baqubah. In the grave, 153 bodies from civilians, policemen and army soldiers were discovered.
According to Al-Shimari, the bodies were buried between 2005 and August 2008, when the region was under control of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an armed group affiliated to Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
Another mass grave was found in the volatile Diyala province by the Unites States Forces: Iraq (USF–I) on November 26, 2008. 23 bodies were unearthed after receiving a report from a local contractor.
U.S. foreign assistance (USAID) issued a report in regards to the mass graves in Iraq, which were a common practice during the Saddam Hussein regime. After Hussein was overthrown in 2003, 53 mass graves were found while 270 others were reported.
According to USAID, some graves held a few dozen bodies, with their arms lashed together and the bullet holes in the backs of skulls testimony to their execution. Other graves were densely packed with thousands of bodies.
Human Rights Watch estimated that as many as 290,000 Iraqis have been 'disappeared' by the Iraqi government over the past two decades. Former British PM Tony Blair said at the time that remains of over 400,000 people were found in mass graves.
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