Flashpoints

Mass grave uncovered in former ISIS territory of northern Iraq

Numerous human remains were recently uncovered from a suspected mass grave in the northern Iraqi village of Humeydat, part of the territory formerly controlled by Islamic State militants.

Local officials in late June found the grave, which extended over hundreds of meters, filled with bones, skulls, clothing and shoes. The remains are believed to be those of Shiite prisoners who were executed in June 2014 after ISIS gained control of Mosul, though an investigation is needed to confirm.

An estimated 1,500 prisoners, both Shiite and Sunni, from Badoush were taken to the desert and separated, according to a Human Rights Watch investigation. ISIS allegedly executed 600 prisoners in this area, most of whom were Shiite.

Experts performed an initial investigation, but further excavation has been halted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, officials told The Associated Press. The Iraqi government task force that investigated mass graves prior to the pandemic had ongoing issues including understaffing and inadequate resources to store and identify remains, according to a November 2018 report from the United Nations.

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