Iraqi authorities have said that they have discovered yet another ISIS mass grave in the province of Kirkuk, northern Iraq.
Authorities in Iraq said they uncovered a new mass grave containing the remains of dozens of people in an area of northern Kirkuk province once held by ISIS.
Security forces have discovered dozens of mass graves since they drove out the extremist group in 2017 after three years of occupation of swathes of northern and western Iraq.
The United Nations said in November that more than 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 victims had been found in Iraq that could hold vital evidence of war crimes by the militants.
The latest macabre discovery was made on Thursday in the Hawija district of Kirkuk province, Adel Ismail, a lieutenant-colonel in the Iraqi federal police force, told AFP.
He said the grave contained the remains of “innocent Iraqi civilians” who “were abducted and then killed” by the militants.
It was found in what appears to be a deep well in the Al-Abbassi area of Hawija.
“This is a mass grave used by ISIS,” said Wani Firas, a resident of the area.
“They used to come here, execute and throw (the victims) inside, and we used to watch and observe from nearby,” he said.
The United Nations in Iraq (UNAMI) and its human rights office said last month they had documented a total of 202 mass graves in parts of western and northern Iraq held by ISIS between 2014 and 2017.
Of them, just 28 had been excavated and 1,258 bodies exhumed by Iraqi authorities, the report said.
Even more sites could be uncovered in the months to come, it warned, urging Iraqi authorities to properly preserve and excavate them to provide closure for victims’ families