Third mass grave found in Iraq

BAQUBAH, IRAQ: Iraqi security forces on Tuesday informed that a mass grave in northeast of Baaquba in the volatile Diyala province, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported on Wednesday.

The mass grave was discovered in Qartaba district. The grave contained 15 bodies that were identified as al-Qaeda operatives. The discovery is the third one of this kind in the region this month.

Last Friday, Diyala Police found 153 decomposed bodies in a mass burial site south of Baqubah in the Buhrez district. The bodies pertained to civilians, policemen and army soldiers.

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).

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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