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Iraqi forces find mass grave of IS fighters near Mosul

The mass grave of IS fighters was discovered near Tal Afar [File photo: AFP]

Date of publication: 29 September, 2017

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Iraqi forces have discovered a mass grave west of recently recaptured Mosul containing dozens of bodies of Islamic State fighters likely killed in an air strike, officials said.
Iraqi forces have discovered a mass grave west of second city Mosul containing dozens of bodies of Islamic State fighters probably killed in an air strike, officials said Friday.

"It's the first mass grave of this kind to have been discovered" near Tal Afar, some 70 kilometers west of Mosul, local official Abdelaal Abbas said.

Iraqi forces retook Mosul from the Islamic State group in July and Tal Afar in late August, three years after the extremists overran the northern Iraqi cities.

"[Daesh] would throw the bodies of its fighters ... in a deep pit seven kilometers north of Tal Afar," Abbas said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

A security official in the wider Nineveh province, Mohammed Ibrahim al-Bayati said that "around 40 bodies belonging to Daesh" were found in the pit.

Another security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the bodies were those of "men and women, some probably Chechen or Turkish."

"It's likely these [Daesh] members were killed several months ago during an air strike and not during the offensive of Iraqi forces to oust the jihadists from Tal Afar."

The names of the extremists and when they were killed appeared on memorial plaques near the grave, the source added.

The extremist group has seen the territory it controls dwindle considerably since it seized large swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014.

In Iraq, their presence has been reduced to the northern town of Hawija - where Iraqi forces began an offensive on Friday - and a stretch of the Euphrates Valley near the border with Syria.

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