470 bodies found in mass graves in Iraq’s Tikrit previously held by ISIL
At least 470 bodies have been found in several mass graves across the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which was previously under the control of Takfiri ISIL terrorists.
“We have exhumed the bodies of 470 Speicher martyrs from burial sites in Tikrit,” Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hammoud said on Thursday at a press conference in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
Hammoud was referring to military base Camp Speicher, from where Takfiri ISIL terrorists kidnapped and later executed hundreds of Iraqi troops last year. The camp is located in Tikrit’s north.
The massacre saw the terrorists executing more than 1,700 army cadets, mostly Shia Muslims, who had been kidnapped from the camp on June 12 last year.
On March 31, 2015, units of government forces, backed by Shia and Sunni volunteer forces, managed to retake control of the city, which had earlier fallen to ISIL.
According to officials, the biggest of the mass graves found earlier this week contained 400 bodies.
“These bodies come from four burial sites… One of them was bigger than the others and contained 400,” said Ziad Ali Abbas, the chief doctor at Baghdad’s main morgue, on Thursday.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and other foreign agencies assisted Iraqi officials in the forensic examination of the exhumed remains, said Iraqi authorities.
The names of the victims whose remains have been found would be released as early as next week, according to Iraqi officials.
Thousands of families, whose sons, fathers and brothers went missing at the time of ISIL’s offensive on Tikrit last year, are waiting for the list of the names to know whether or not their loved ones are among the victims found in the mass graves.