“The Iraqi security forces found a mass grave in the village of Qabr al-Abad, South of Mosul in Nineveh province,” the Arabic-language Baghdad Post quoted a senior security official, Major Mohammad Jassem, as saying on Sunday.
He noted that the mass grave contained 28 dead bodies of Iraqi military forces, including 18 senior officials of the 2nd Division of Iraqi Army.
Major Jassem said that some victims have been identified through their ID cards, adding that the slain officers had been stationed in the area before ISIL’s occupation of the region.
In a relevant development in late December, authorities in Northern Iraq announced the discovery of a mass grave containing the bodies of civilians believed to have been killed by the ISIL.
Police said residents found the bodies in a sparsely populated region near the town of Huweija in Kirkuk province after heavy rain in the area exposed the corpses, al Jazeera reported.
“As you can see, the location allowed them to hide and kill innocent civilians from the district and outside the district,” said Security Chief Dawoud Salman al-Shameri.
It was not immediately clear how many bodies laid further underground.
People living in the area said they had witnessed ISIL, an armed group that held large swaths of territory across Northern Iraq and Syria from mid-2014 until late 2017, execute victims in broad daylight.
“On our way, we saw they were killing them. The victims were dressed in red suits. We could see them it was clear,” said Adday Hamid Abd, who lives in the nearby village of Al Daghila.
In a relevant development in November, a report by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq documented the existence of 202 such mass grave sites in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh, Salahuddin and Anbar.
A year earlier, in November 2017, graves containing the remains of some 400 bodies were found at an airbase on the outskirts of Kirkuk.
Police on Sunday cordoned off the area as they waited for a team to arrive from Baghdad to exhume the bodies, a procedure that could enable authorities to convict those responsible for war crimes and possibly genocide.