Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) The pro-government paramilitary troops have run into a mass grave, likely to be for Islamic State members in al-Fatha region, north of Salahuddin province.
In a statement, Wanas al-Jabbara, commander of the 88th brigade of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said “during wide-scale operations by out troops, a mass grave containing several victims was found in al-Fatha region.”
The bodies, according to Jabbara, “maintained some of its features due to the low temperatures. Beards and heavy hair of the victims can be distinguished. It seems that most of them are Iraqi nationals.”
“Fatha region has been uninhabited since August 2014,” he said, adding that weapons and explosive belts were found along with bodies. “Apparently, they were killed during liberation offensives in Hawija.”
Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced, in December, full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.
As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.