Mass grave of decapitated bodies found near Mosul

  • 08/11/2016

A mass grave containing around 100 decapitated bodies has been discovered south of the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

The bodies were discovered by the Iraqi army near the town of Hamam al-Alil, which was liberated on Sunday.

A local politician said Islamic State (IS) had used the town's agricultural college as "a killing field" for hundreds of people in the days before the Iraqi government advance.

Officials say the state of the bodies makes it difficult to tell whether the dead are soldiers or civilians.

Forensic specialists from Baghdad have been called in investigate. Hamah-al-Ali lies around 30km south of Mosul near the Tigris River.

Subheading: Civilians tell of neighbours being executed

29-year-old Riyad Ahmed says he used to peer out from behind his bedroom window in Hamah-al-Ali, watching IS fighters dragging civilians into a makeshift jail across the street and then sending them to be executed in the middle of the night.

The former English teacher recalls hearing victims' cries of agony as he hid with dozens of neighbours in the shadow of one of the group's detention centres.

Standing on the road between his house and the jail on Monday, Mr Ahmed told Reuters that no part of the town had been spared from the ultra-hardline Sunni Islamists' violence.

In his street alone, he says, six people he knew were executed - including his father and a family of three that lived next door.

Aid organisations, local officials and Mosul residents say IS executed dozens of people in Hammam al-Alil and nearby barracks over the course of a week, on suspicion of planning rebellions in and around Mosul to aid the advancing troops.

Those reports now match up to the mass grave Iraqi forces found on Tuesday.

Residents still in the town say they packed into homes with dozens of other people for days to avoid being forced to flee to Mosul as IS retreated.

Thousands of civilians, including many from villages further south who had been forced to serve as human shields for the jihadists, escaped to government camps over the weekend while others were forced deeper into IS-held territory.

Reuters / Newshub.