Nearly a dozen mass graves tied to Islamic State found in Iraq

Nearly a dozen mass graves containing the bodies of Islamic State militants have been found in Iraq in recent days, officials said.

Iraqi army troops liberate the Iraqi town of Hawija. After their success they found a mass grave of security forces and civilians killed by the Islamic State. Photo by Bareq Al-Samarrai/EPA
Iraqi army troops liberate the Iraqi town of Hawija. After their success they found a mass grave of security forces and civilians killed by the Islamic State. Photo by Bareq Al-Samarrai/EPA

The Iraqi army said Monday one mass grave was discovered west of Ramadi. Twenty bodies of IS fighters found there were killed while attempting to defend their positions in the town 70 miles west of Baghdad. Iraqi troops recaptured the city last year.

The mass grave “was found while Iraqi troops were combing [the] Abul Jir mountainous region, located west of al-Rahaliya, west of Ramadi,” Col. Alaa Fadel said.

A Facebook posting by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense on Monday referred to the grave location as a cemetery and said 30 bodies had been found. It added that Iraqi army forces also found an anti-tank mine and another explosive device.

The announcement of the discovery came two days after 10 additional mass graves were found on the outskirts of Hawija, a town recently taken from IS forces in Kirkuk province.

The bodies found in those graves, officials said, belonged to security forces and civilians who’d been executed by Islamic State militants.

Iraqi officials said they also found a detention facility nearby they suspect was used by the group to torture detainees and incinerate their bodies.

By Ed Adamczyk