Hawija (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi paramilitary troops ran on Tuesday into another mass grave of security members executed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Kirkuk.
Popular Mobilization Forces’ media service said the forces discovered a third mass grave of executed security members in Abu Sakhra village in Abbassi, southwest of the group’s stronghold town of Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.
“Mobilization forces are waiting for specialized teams to examine the martyr’s relics and identify them,” said the media outlet.
The PMFs had found two other mass graves of security victims on Monday in Abu Sakhra and al-Therban villages.
Iraqi government and PMF forces have discovered dozens of mass graves of security members and civilians executed by the Islamic State as they gradually regained control of areas occupied by the militants in 2014.
On Monday, the Joint Operations Command said government and PMF forces recaptured up to 45 villages during a second phase of operations launched last Friday to retake Hawija, a town southwest of Kirkuk which the militants have held since 2014.
The first phase of operations launched on September 24th, and managed to retake eastern Shirqat, an Islamic State haven in neighboring Salahuddin province.
Parallel operations were launched late September targeting IS havens in western Anbar.
A wide-scale campaign launched with the backing of a U.S.-led coalition in 2016 to recapture areas occupied by IS since 2014, when the militants declared a self-styled “caliphate” rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria based in Iraq’s Mosul.
Iraqi government, coalition and paramilitary forces recaptured Mosul, the group’s former capital, and the neighboring town of Tal Afar early July and late August.