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Iraq opens mass grave in Nineveh to identify Daesh victims

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This aerial view taken on 13 June 2021 shows human remains, reportedly of victims of the 2014 Badush prison massacre committed by Daesh, after being unearthed from a mass grave in the northern Iraqi village of Badush (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi authorities have unearthed yet another mass grave containing the bodies of more than 120 people tortured and slain by Daesh terrorists at a detention facility near the northern city of Mosul, which was once the terror group’s main stronghold in the Arab country.

Iraqi authorities said the remains of 123 people killed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorists had been removed from a mass grave in the village of Badush of the Nineveh governorate in order to start the process of identifying them.

The civilian inmates, who were arrested by US forces in 2005, were executed by Daesh gangs after they controlled the Badush prison during their occupation of Mosul in 2014.

In June that year, the Daesh terrorists attacked the northwestern prison, forcing 583 mainly Shia prisoners into truck, before driving them to a ravine and shooting them.

The mass grave, discovered after Iraqi forces took control of the area in March 2017, is one of over 200 graves Daesh left behind in its rampage of brutality.

The remains of up to 12,000 people are believed to be buried in these graves, the United Nations says, which has accused Daesh of having committed genocide across Iraq.

Saleh Ahmed, a member of government commission tasked with identifying the "martyrs", said at the Badush mass grave site that the task of identifying the victims has been challenging, as remains have often been burned or exposed to the elements over the years.

"Work conditions are difficult," he said, as dozens of workers carried out the grim task of removing bodies from the grave.

"The heat is overwhelming. Some remains are entangled, and there are snakes and scorpions everywhere," he added.

In recent weeks, dozens of family members of the victims have given blood samples, which will be compared to the DNA of the remains, which were found in the mass graves in 2017.

"Thousands of families are waiting to know what happened to their relatives," said Najm al-Jubburi, governor of the Nineveh province where the prison is located.

One of those waiting for closure in Iraq is Abbas Mohammed, whose son was jailed at Badush following his arrest by the US forces in 2005.

"After 17 years of not knowing whether my son is alive or dead, I need an answer," he was quoted by media as saying.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes of land. In December, 2017, the Iraqi state declared victory over the terrorist group. Pockets of Daesh terrorists remain active in the country, however.

Iraq has been struggling to identify remains of people from several violent episodes in its recent history, and is still discovering mass graves from the regime of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.

But Saddam was not alone in committing crimes and there were several countries, including Germany, France, the UK, and the US, that assisted him by arming his regime.


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